It is the time of year where most sales people will be focusing on how they are going to achieve their objectives for next year. We often prepare for meetings, in person, by video or via the phone thinking only about our own goals and objectives; what we want to achieve from the meeting or presentation.
A technique that can be particularly useful in preparing effectively before a meeting is called ‘Perceptual Positions’ It is a process that enables you to think from a wider perspective about the forthcoming meeting to improve your chances of a successful outcome that deepens the sales relationship you have with the prospect or client.
- Think about the meeting and what you want to achieve from it: what are your goals and objectives as the sales person responsible for this deal?
- Now imagine that you are the prospect and think about the meeting from their perspective. They are giving you some of their time – what are their priorities and challenges, what might be going on that will impact their focus in the meeting, what do they want to get out of this meeting with you? The key to success at this stage of the process is to think as if you are the prospect; use “I” rather than “they”
- Now imagine that you are a ‘fly on the wall’ in the meeting. From this detached perspective you can see both you (the sales person) and the prospect in the meeting. From this perspective, what do you notice? How is the meeting going? How is the prospect reacting and interacting? What advice would you give the sales person to help from this perspective?
- Finally, go back to your own perspective (1st position) and review what you have learnt. You may need to adjust or re-assess your initial thoughts and objectives for the meeting in order to take account of the other person.
This simple process takes 2 minutes before you go into a meeting. Whilst you are only ‘mind-reading’ the client in the 2nd and 3rd position it is a useful tool to encourage greater empathy with them which will result in a deeper sales relationship.