Just like going for a new job, there are a number of people pitching for this new client. It is rare that a company seeking a new supplier or a new recruit will just talk to one person.
So why do so many business owners (in sales person mode) simply walk in and "trumpet their fabulousness" as Liz Ryan puts it?
There are two reasons that stand out for me:
They haven't taken the time to research the company and understand more about the pain/needs/issues the company is looking to resolve. Bearing in mind that an "interview" rarely takes place as the first engagement and that there has already been an opportunity over the phone to start that research. If you've done your research, you will have time to plan what other questions to ask and what stories to tell that demonstrate that you understand their issues and that you have lots of experience resolving similar issues for others.
It's all about me
Too many sales people, unfortunately, like to talk about themselves. After all, it is the subject they know best! They fall back into the old "features pitch" and leave it to the prospect to work out how these features will help them.
I've said it before and I'll say it again - help them see how you can help them.
When pitching for a new client, you are always up against someone else. That could be a competitor or the company could decide to employ someone to do that work. If you want the work, prove you do by:
- showing you've done the research by asking the right questions to probe further.
- tell great stories that demonstrate your experience in helping others
- help them understand how you can help
I hope this helps.
You can go on a job interview and bleat out manicured answers like a little sheepie job-seeker, but I hope you don't. You'll have much more impact, learn more and have more fun if you treat the job interview like a sales call for a consulting project. If you haven't consulted before, you may think that consultants go in to see prospective clients ready to dive into a presentation about themselves and their capabilities. Some consultants do that, and those people seldom get the consulting work. Who wants to hear anyone drone on and on about their skills and talents? How do you let a hiring manager know you understand his movie and can solve his biggest problem? You don't do it by saying "This is your lucky day! I have lived your movie and I can solve your problem."