During a conversation about sales this week with my extremely smart friend Chris, he told me about a sales idea that is both simple and brilliant. It's one of those "Why didn't I think of this?" concepts.
Chris sells extremely large, complex technical consulting projects. As part of this process, he makes very sure to use a whiteboard for any presenting he does, and insures that his prospective customers use it too. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what closes the sale.
Think about it. There's Chris, up at the front of the room. He is at a whiteboard, and he begins do diagram . . . something. It could be the architecture of the network itself. Or the business processes and logic behind it. Or the financial impact of the project. Whatever. Regardless of the subject, he is careful to start building a diagram on the whiteboard with lots of little boxes and circles and arrows and stuff.
And as he works away at this, at some point, he invites one of the prospects to come up to the whiteboard and contribute to the diagram.
This is the Big Moment. First of all, nobody ever says "no" to this. Second, once they're up there, and start adding little boxes and arrows of their own, the entire dynamic of the meeting changes. It is no longer Chris trying to convince them of something. It's Chris and the prospect, working together to solve a problem.
This is a huge shift. Suddenly, the prospect is invested in the situation, and in the proposed solution to the situation. It's now his solution, too.
Whatever you're selling, get the prospect to participate in both defining the problem and crafting the proposed solution. A white board is an excellent way to do this. Once they do, the entire dialogue goes from whether they should work with you to how.