One observation I have of many business developers is that too often they make the mistake of launching into a detailed outline of all the packages and options they have available, before they have sold the prospect on the big idea, the benefit of them being involved in the first place.
Let’s look at this from the perspective of selling events such as conferences and exhibitions and also professional services.
The proposition or big idea with conferences and exhibitions is that they provide the opportunity to engage your target audience in a short period of time, in one location, in an environment where the audience is expecting to do business, saving you time, money and effort.
Without having sold the prospect on the value of being at the event (in some form or another), conference and exhibition sales people tend to head straight to “we have a Gold package that comes with A, B and C, a Silver package that comes with A and B and a Bronze package that comes with C”.
The problem you create for yourself
If you go into the packages without having sold the need to be at the event, you have not created a firm foundation to proceed in the sales process. The prospect can always turn around and say that they don’t see the value of being involved in the first place and you are back to where you started.
The technique is to see it as a two stage process
First, take the time to sell the big idea of what participation in the event or program will do for them, the benefits they will obtain. Gain their agreement on this.
Then, having got the prospect to see the value of participation, you can explore which package would be best suited to their needs.
If you are selling a service such as coaching or training, it’s the same process. Get their agreement on the benefit of coaching or training first and then explore which coaching or training program would be most suited to their requirements.
To demonstrate value, a great technique is to demonstrate the cost of not participating.
In the conference or exhibition example you could ask questions such as:
‘What would be the cost of visiting each of your potential clients individually away from the conference or exhibition?’
This question aims to get the prospect to consider and acknowledge the real cost of travelling to see each person individually in terms of time and transport and accommodation costs, and therefore the amount of time and money they will save by attending.
‘Can you guarantee that your prospects will be wiling and available to meet with you?’
As we all know, it’s not always easy to get a meeting with the people you want to do business with. This question will show how you can deliver what they need – their prospects face to face, and in an environment where they are expecting to do business.
Let them answer each question. Don’t do it for them. Let them articulate the value in your opportunity for themselves.