While consulting for small companies and larger ones, I found that there wasn’t any real, one hundred percent functional way to get “yes” out of a team. It could have been the initial sale, the follow up call, the contract negotiations or the in-session meetings where we were trying to Do The Right Thing and get the team to perform as we’d sold them. After all that time, dozens and dozens of successful (and not so successful) startups that we’ve worked with, I think there are six keys that resonate with everybody.
- Start with a small pitch – if you ask for something big, first, it’s far to easy for the team or the prospect to say no. If you can get them into “yes” mode, it’s far easier to get them on the path to agreement and then once they find themselves agreeing with you it’s a lot harder for them to “snap out of it” and tell you no.
- Ape their body language – the fact is that it’s one of those NLP things you’ll read in many books…but it works. Study after study confirms (we’ll add a citation later 😉 ) that if you are moving towards agreement often times, you’ll start to mimic each others body language in a two person meeting. You can use this to your advantage by copying them, then moving back to step one, creating accord over some small things…the moving on to larger.
- Wear glasses as it’ll make you look smarter – yes, we know, wearing glasses that don’t actually help your vision seems like lying. Well, it’s not your fault if more than half the people in a survey said that those who wore glasses seemed “more intelligent” than those without. If you need to come across as a subject matter expert, it’s worth leverging this (yes, I wear contacts…but you’d be surprised at how often I showed up at sales meetings wearing glasses).
- Dress well and smartly – shirts with colors, button up are good, if you can pull it off, consider wearing diagonal stripes for men, as those will make you seem more forward thinking. It’s an odd, bold fashion decision and shouldn’t be made lightly…if you’re pitching something that calls for different thinking, wear it. If not, don’t.
- Match your presentation materials and style to the audience – this goes without saying but it bears repeating: if you’re selling a technology company, don’t arrive in meeting with a pad and paper. If you’re selling a company that values it’s history, legacy and pedigree…consider a mont blanc pen and a leatherbound organizer. You can always use evernote and a high tech pen to transmite your notes digitally later…but, the pad and pen will make your style seem more in line with the company’s – improving your shot at getting the deal.
Bonus tip: know why they are considering you and make sure to keep that clear, in meeting. If it’s a referral, emphasis the success and value you delivered to the contact that introduced you. If it’s based on your expertise or market positioning, reinforce that (say there was a new article you read, that reinforced your establish positioning, etc…). Good luck and happy selling.