The number of teams in the wide world of sales is a mammoth one, and the court is crowded with opponents just itching to occupy the top spot. Having a feasible game plan is key in determining whether you’re one and done, or the one cutting down the net when the dance is done.
Your memorable moments and pitch will move you from the masses into the elite when you put into practice those elements that cause you to stand out from everyone who’s holding a ball. Follow these rules of the game to make the most of your time on the court.
Avoid “Additional” Air Balls:
Get focused and stay focused. Potential clients are busy, and want only to zero in on and address the target that has been identified for that scheduled meeting. In the case of a Demo some pre-discovery ensures that you are not relegated to the stands with the rest of the spectators, rather than making the winning shot.
Arrive on the line prepped to run the expected and scheduled drills. Keep them tight and clean, focusing on delivering your very best in the allotted time. Time's up, game over. Your client isn’t going to appreciate any overtime, the game is over. Shake hands and trust that your preparation and attention to your potential client will pay off.
Deflect Technical Fouls:
Nothing will get you benched faster than data dumping. You have the potential client’s attention, but don’t take that for granted by getting carried away when all eyes are on you. Don’t try to squeeze in every bit of what you know or offer “side notes” to the tune of “While I’m here...” or “Oh, by the way...” This practice is frustrating to potential clients and teammates alike, as they have prepared to address the scheduled topic, not “pop up thoughts” that interrupt your drive to the goal.
Stand Up, Sit Down, Fight, Fight, Fight
It is imperative that you present a united front by properly fielding the proverbial ball when you’re sharing presentation duties with teammates. Make sure you’re familiar with each other’s body language, and utilize the “Stand Up, Sit Down” technique when demoing. If you or your partner has a question or thoughtful addition, he or she should stand up in an attempt to catch your eye and attention, making sure to wait until you have found a comfortable STOP. Find an appropriate time for transition, then seamlessly hand over the floor to the new presenter. You should then sit down so that all attention is on the information being offered by your teammate. This alleviates any confusion, and keeps your game on track.
Prepare to Beat the Buzzer:
There’s a reason winners practice a single shot repeatedly. They understand that there will be a defining moment that sees them encountering that exact shot, so they prepare for it, so much so that it is relegated to muscle memory. In an interview on his shooting routine, NBA free thrower Steve Nash stated, “When you practice something and stick to a routine, it takes out all the variables.” This repetition and routine relegates Nash’s success to muscle memory and allows him to draw from that memory whenever he finds himself in that moment that calls for precision under pressure. This practice has made Nash the number one free thrower in the NBA, and can be repeated on the demo court. Before you take your ball to the hoop on the client’s court, make those shots over and over until your ideas are embedded in your very muscles. Dry running your demo is practice that you need to perform. Performing a practice dry run allows you to speak with ease and enthusiasm about what you can offer the client, you’ll arc higher than those around you, making the shot and clenching your spot in the big dance.
Beating Bracket Boredom:
There’s nothing that will eliminate your deal-clinching prospects faster than showing up with the same tired moves as the rest of the players in the game. To have the opportunity to show out, you have to stand out. Consider pitching in reverse, opting to nab the attention of the potential client by opening your demo or presentation with three key issues that you’ve found in discovery with your client, specifically problems that your solution is positioned to solve. This way you grab their attention and build a level of credibility in the first few minutes of your presentation, rather than running the same old plays they’ve seen time and time again. Opening with solutions to client specific issues shows that you know who they are beyond a potential dollar sign. To quote Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath, “The most basic way to get someone’s attention is this: Break a pattern. Humans adapt incredibly quickly to consistent patterns”. Sometimes it pays to pull potential clients out of their comfort zone, and there’s no better way to do that than in a way that sees them see YOU putting their best interests at the forefront of your gameplan.
Make Them Remember You
Whether you’re looking for Lebron-esque back to back wins, or a scoring streak worthy of Curry, you can add pizazz and flair to your time on the line by making a lasting impression before the beginning buzzer sounds. Grab their attention in a way that can never be lost by offering those 2% details that set you apart even before the game begins. A personal video can be just the thing to do that, as it offers a fresh and intimate connection that cannot be achieved through email and cold calling--our reps use our cloud video solution platform to facilitate delivery of those videos.
Whether you’re looking to write a Cinderella story with your victory on the demo court, or repeat plays that have garnered you success in the past, it is imperative that you enter into every opportunity for client interaction like it’s game day. Your attention to that final 2%, to the critical execution, will advance you and your team, to the final round. And whether you’re a smaller organization, a new product line, or a startup company, it doesn’t lessen your ability to compete with a larger, more experienced company. As a matter of fact, people love to see the underdog win, so bring that small team energy to the presentation. The beauty of sales (and life) is in the fact that we all come to that first meeting as equals, whether we’re a 1 seed or a 16 seed. It is our attention to that crucial 2%, as well as the right tools and techniques that will set you apart from the rest of the players, and be the difference between your triumph and their defeat.