Having a salesperson sitting across from you pushing his wares is not something most people look forward to. In Part 1 we shared some of the things that really turned us off in a recent sales meeting with a supplier.

We don’t believe in taking shots without offering solutions, so here are some of the things we would rather have seen happen in the meeting. We’d love to hear what you think of our “wish list” and any other advice you have for salespeople selling to you.

  1. Think about OUR needs, before you come

Putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but in reality it’s not that difficult either. Here’s a few problems that most distributors have that some reflection could have turned up.

  • How to be more competitive in a very thin margin world,
  • How to get the right items in our warehouse with the least effort and cost,
  • How to add more value to our clients

With a decent understanding of the details of our business, the sales person should be able to come up with even more specific versions of my needs. With our supplier, he knows that his products are priced at the upper end of the market, so it’s not hard to guess that selling our customers on higher priced items is a challenge. Unfortunately, it never got raised, so many of our customers still don’t want to buy their products because of price perceptions.

  1. Ask and you shall receive

To get us to buy we wish you’d ask why we’re not buying (more) from you already, or why we’re buying from your competitor. Departing from a planned script to ask the customer what matters most to them can be scary, what if you don’t have an answer for their real concerns? But the alternative—running through a canned dialogue about your stuff—is far worse, you don’t even know what they are so your chance of hitting the right nerve is much smaller. And when you ask what bothers us, it increases trust, shows us you are listening to us, and you get very specific information on what is needed to make us want to buy.

  1. Hold the Powerpoint, please

When a sales meeting starts with a Powerpoint, or a stack of papers, it puts us immediately on the defensive—“Here comes to the full-court press sales pitch.” It tells us that you already know what my problem is and are going to convince me you have the solution. Visual aids can be great, but at least hold off until we have engaged discussed our needs and interests enough for us to be interested (see #2, above). Then if you have a few slides or materials that, or illustrate something relevant to us about your product or service, we’ll actually be genuinely interested to see them.

  1. Show us how we win

A sales person may have just the right product or service to really help me and my business, but until I, the buyer, can see it that way, I probably won’t buy. That means you have to help me connect the dots between what you’re selling and how I win. Like many sales meetings our recent one was spent hearing about the products and features the seller offered, but they stopped short of how those qualities helped me. So spend the time to clearly show me the link to my benefits: how do I get more business, why more customers will buy it, why it’s such an advantage in the market, etc. When a sales person clearly demonstrates to me how I win by buying his product, I’ll buy it all day.

These are some of our wishes when it comes to sales meetings, now tell us what you’d like to see in a sales meeting. Leave a comment below or share your own “wishes” that would make for a better buying experience, we’d love to hear. (Read the The Bad Sales Meeting, part 1)