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Make Good Use of the Appointment

June 04, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 168

Years ago when I was young, but should have known better anyway, I missed a golden opportunity. I was looking for a job. I put together an outstanding resume and cover letter. I hired a company to help me produce an impressive product. I then mailed it to a select few executives in special envelopes. I followed up after a few days. One executive actually called me and said, "I would like to meet you - you have amazing credentials."

The appointment was set, I was excited, and I thought, "Viola! I have the job." A few days later we met for lunch at the executive's private club. I thought my resume was amazing and it said everything that needed to be said. Then came the shock.

During lunch, which was a beautiful sumptuous affair, the executive asked a simple question, "So, what do you want to do for us?" Gulp! "Huh?" I reacted internally trying to fight down the panic. I was not prepared for that question - though I should have been.

I was so excited that the first part of the process worked, and that I was having this amazing lunch in a private club with a top executive who was impressed with me, that I failed to prepare to close the deal. I wasted the opportunity. I never made that mistake again.

I sometimes wonder what would have happened had I been able to express a very specific job or opportunity or value proposition that I could offer. Perhaps that would have led to more conversation, and a great position. But, as it was, I was left with nothing other than a nice lunch and a powerful lesson.

The lesson here is simple, but these four points are often overlooked in the selling process:

1. Make good use of your appointments. Every minute with the prospect counts; use their time and your time wisely.

2. Focus on getting your message across. You have been granted time with the prospect and there is an expectation that you have a message to share. Make sure you share it.

3. Keep the conversation directed towards the reason you are there. Finding out the needs of the prospect must be done in the context of what you are there to share. Do not get sidetracked.

4. Be prepared. Have a specific message and objective clearly in mind so you can focus the opportunity.

I was able to apply these lessons as I helped a software company emerge in their strategically selected market. The company had a first-round of beta software that showed great promise. I was able to land five top organizations as early adopters for that company, which included two Fortune 500 companies, two large government entities, and one high tech Silicon Valley company.

This is not a one-size fits all concept. Each organization had unique needs, and so each organization found different parts of the software valuable. By focusing on each individual involved, and understanding their unique needs, I was able to communicate the parts of the software that brought them specific value. The conversations at these appointments remained focused on our mutual agenda.

Gordon E. Whitehead

Dr. Gordon E. Whitehead is a leader with experience in business management, business development, information technology, and bringing new products to market. He graduated from George Fox University, a private liberal arts university in Newberg, Oregon, with a Doctorate in Management and as a Richter Scholar. His professional highlights include: United Sates Marine Corps Captain, Director of IT at Nike, Varsity Football Offensive Coordinator for a championship team, Head Varsity Girls Basketball Coach, and an Assistant Varsity Baseball Coach. He is an experienced business leader in technology, business development, and organizational management.

Source: EzineArticles
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