First off congratulations! Second, take a deep breath! There is no doubt that sales meetings can be intimidating but that's only because you put too much weight on them. You've been talking to strangers all your life, you've been selling all your life (whether it's when you were a kid and tried to convince your parents you should be allowed that new toy, or when you entered your bosses office seeking that raise). Selling is a natural part of your life, you just need to relax and approach it right. I remember my first "professional" meeting (or at least it seemed so at the time), I was in grade 6 and stubborn in the stance that my school needed a school newspaper. My meeting was with the schools? principal (a rather scary looking character) and I was a nervous wreck! It was at this time that my father, a successful business man, gave me some of the best advice I've ever received. When I was little I was really in to acting, my dad took me aside before the meeting and told me that this meeting was just like one of my plays, the pitch was merely what I had to present to the audience, I would play the character of someone they wanted to listen to and sell them on a concept they would enjoy. This initial view got me over the fright of walking into a room with someone much older than myself and in a position of responsibility, but it also got me to look at human interactions in a brand new light. As I continued to learn more about sales, people, and life, I learned a few valuable things about selling that I want to pass on to those of you venturing out to your first meetings. #1 - You Talk Too Much: I know, I know, coming from me, this one may be a bit of a surprise, but when it comes to sales most sales people speak way too much. The client, in most cases, does not care who you are, or what your products? ten best features are.. They care that they have a problem - in most cases one problem; that they want to you to fix. Former CEO of Porchse, Peter Shultz, says, "If you listen closely enough, your customers will explain your business to you." And he's quite right with that, most sales people do 80%+ of the talking in a meeting, tell a client what they need, and trying to follow this "ABS" (always be selling) which is a load of rubbish. What you need to be doing is "ABL" always be listening, find out what the clients? problem is, and help to educate them on how you are the solution. Use this over the top example to help you understand: Imagine I am a parched traveler and you are a sales representative of a food and beverage company. My problem is that I am parched and dehydrated; do I want to know that you make the best soda? Do I care about the competitive pricing of your chips? Not at the moment; but if you listen to me and identify my needs, explain how your product (water) is the best solution to my problem and then resolve my issue, not only have you closed a sale but now I might be interested in your other products. #2 - What clients really want Now that you understand that you need to listen for a clients? problem, let's talk a bit about selling them a solution. Clients are really only interested in two things "The Impact" and "The Promise". Let's put it this way, I went into the corner store to get an apple, I came out with my apple and ate it. Traditionally, people would tell me I bought an apple because I wanted an apple. A sales man might try and tell me why his apples are the best. But did I want the apple? No. What I truly wanted was to get rid of my hunger, the after effect or "The Impact" of eating that apple. So while you might be great at selling apples, you should really be focusing on selling the impact of your solution and do it with certainty so your client has that promise. Let's put it in terms more relatable to most of us. You contact a few SEO companies that you want to get quotes from. One of them tells you: "We are really good at SEO and are going to make sure we implement a great plan for you that will raise your SERPS" The other company says: "Our SEO is focused on improving your ROI and not just your SERP. We won't focus on fruitless keywords" Which are you more likely to go with? What was the end result you desired? Just a higher SERP or did you really want a higher ROI? Sell on the impact. #3 - Closing a deal is the best thing you'll ever do - Failing is the second best People are constantly afraid of failure. In fact, it's one of Dale Carnegie's (author of "How to Win Friends and Influence People) fatal five fears. People constantly lose their nerve, and fail to sell simply because they are afraid of failing in the first place. But when it comes to selling, I love failing, because it gives me an opportunity to grow, and to improve. I have an old little pocket tape recorder and record my pitch so I can listen to after the fact and identify where I went wrong. I've certainly failed plenty, but in discovering the moment where those clients "switched off" I was able to avoid the same mistake in future pitches that I won. When you accept the fact that you are going to fail, and quite frankly are going to fail a lot, it loosens the chains. It lets you become more relaxed and bold in future pitches, and it acts as a learning experience to help you better understand not only people in general, but also how your business is viewed and what problems you solve. #4 - Be Memorable - Not Stupid: "I'm going to rent a Ferrari to drive to my meeting". "I'm going to wear a top hat and a monocle to really stand out to my client" If you've ever said anything along these lines then you're guilty of being stupid. Being memorable and standing out to a client isn't about being a spectacle, it's about having a hook. Let me explain further:I was once looking to hire a quality writer to help with a small project. I asked each of the writers why they thought they were the best writer for this job. One of the replies I received was roughly this: "When I was growing up, my twin sister was blind. I always felt bad that she could never experience the world as I did, so I asked her one day how to better explain things to her. Over time, I learned a more practical and descriptive language that I feel helps me better illustrate any scenario, to any person" I don't know if he had a blind sister, in fact I'm willing to bet he didn't as the pitch resembles that of a famous sales guru; but what this writer did have was a unique hook. Anecdotes (small stories) are one of the best hooks out there, in fact long after you are done with this thread and moved on with your life you are far more likely to remember the little stories and examples I posted here than anything else in the thread. Presenting yourself in a unique manner doesn't always involve anecdotes (although they help), but having a unique and memorable perspective, outlook or reasoning can make a world of difference. It's not about looking like an idiot, it's about saying "This is what I do differently, this is why I do it this way and this is why it works for you". #5 - Stop Selling on Price One of the biggest mistakes you'll make when you start out in sales is competing on and selling on price. My competitor sells at $100, I better sell at $90! It's a mistake we've all made, myself included. What you need to remember is that there are shares at all ends of the price spectrum on a market. Either for its perceived value (sentimental attachment) or its practical value (it better provides "the impact" the customer was looking for). Apple, Gucci, Ferrari, they are all companies built upon being the "premium" product in their niche. There will always be room for that. In the SEO world I can buy links from fiverr or I can spend $1000 a month on a SEO Firm. The products differ in price, but also in quality. You need to remember, that you are listening to find out a clients? problem (find their desired impact), presenting a solution to solve it, and promising you can deliver. If you can illustrate that you can solve their problem, promise that you can deliver, and can deliver it better than anyone else, then you will have clients even when you are above the average cost of the product you are selling. #6 - Your Age Doesn't Matter Time and time again I see the statement "I don't think I can do offline sales - I'm too young". This couldn't be further from the truth. Your age won?t hurt you - in fact it might be just the unique hook to not only help you stand out from your competition, but also impress the client by the fact that you are so knowledgeable at such a young age. Beyond that, when it comes down too it, not much about you matters (in the sense that it won't likely be held against you). All the client cares about is ?can you solve his problem?? In Conclusion Prior to your meeting, make a list of all your products and services, and figure out what impact they have and what problem the solve. Think of ways you can show your client how that problem is solved by your product or service (testimonials, statistics, etc?) and then take a deep breath and don't be afraid to fail! I am going to start writing a series of short posts (I'm sure a bunch of you just went "YAY") that deal a little more with sales and marketing psychology, how to present and pitch, and hope this helps those of you that haven't had experience in selling, break into that world a little more easily.