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The Dog and Pony Show — Reinvented

If you’ve been exposed to the sales world in one form or the other, you’ve probably heard of the infamous “Dog and Pony Show”.

That’s where you’re invited to come to your prospect’s office and make a presentation in the hopes you’ll persuade them to buy what you have.

Of course, that’s the plan, but not usually the reality.

If you’ve been one of those sales people, laptop and PowerPoint in tow, pitching your solution as you click from slide to slide, you know how it feels when at the end you hear: “That was a great presentation, thanks for coming in, we’ll let you know.”

You pack up your gear, your ego stroked, and then the “hopeium” drug (as I call it) kicks in.

“Hopeium” is that rush of fleeting feelings throughout your body, fueled by how proud you felt you did – by pitching your solution and hoping for the best.

If you’ve been there, then you know the highs and you definitely know the lows.

You can’t help but to end up chasing your prospect to get to the truth of where they stand, only to get blocked by voicemail and zero responses to your numerous emails.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with being invited to meet your prospect face-to-face.

But if you’ve only been trained to think of selling in a linear-fashion – a step-by-step process driven by how good your sales pitch is – then life aint going to be much fun much longer.

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Selling has changed.

Prospects aren’t going to trust you enough to tell you where you stand, if all you’re doing is trying to persuade them to buy your solution.

If you’re willing to be open minded and shift your mindset away from focusing on “closing” to one of problem-solving, you might find your results and how you feel about yourself — change for the better.

Read on as I share with you the approach our Unlock The Game clients have adopted when they “present” to their prospects.

1. Before Your Meeting

Next time you’re asked by your prospect to meet and make a presentation, ask this first:

“Hi John… you know, I had a thought…it might make sense if we came up with maybe 2 or 3 core issues that you feel you’d like to have addressed at our meeting. The last thing you’d probably want, would be a generic presentation that isn’t customized to your specific issues, and that, I don’t think would be helpful to you…does that make sense?

The point of this pre-meeting conversation is to gather their major problems that you can help them solve BEFORE you show up.

Why is that important?

Because you want your entire discussion (not presentation) to be driven around how your solution can solve THEIR problems.

You want to walk into that meeting listing out and discussing their issues. Not walking them through a linear sales process wrapped around how great your solution is.

So how does that work you ask?

What To bring To The Meeting

First, when you meet with them for the first time, leave your laptop and Powerpoint presentation in your car!

Carry nothing with you in your hands.

Ok, yes, you can have a small notepad and pen in your pocket or purse. But other than that, nothing is best.

  Why? Because it’s disarming and sends the message you’re there to have a discussion and not a one-way presentation.

During The Meeting

When you sit down face-to-face, you want to begin by letting them know your selling philosophy so they feel safe sharing the truth of their situation:

“I just wanted to mention that we don’t believe in pressuring people or assuming they need what we have. We believe in operating as problem-solvers, not as people focusing on just trying to close the sale. I hope you’re comfortable with that.”

Open up the dialogue around their issues:

“During my talks with John, we zeroed in on a couple of key issues that you’re concerned about. I wanted to get your comments on these and maybe bring out more issues around them, if that makes sense to you.”

Our members are reporting wonderful success with this unconventional approach. Mostly because it puts you both at an equal level, you come across as someone who cares about them first and your solution second — and because it’s the most natural way for two people or groups of people to get to know each other and open up to see if there’s a fit or not.

If you can learn to stop “selling” the old way, and join a philosophy and mindset that treats others with dignity and respect, you can be who you are, without having to “perform” in ways that feel awkward and unnatural for you.

If this approach resonates with you and old school selling feels like something you need to break away from (for better results and your own sanity), then join our community of successful Unlock The Game clients.

To your success,
Ari Galper

Ari Galper

Ari Galper is the world’s number one authority on trust-based selling and is the most sought-after sales conversion expert for Business Owners. His newest book, “Unlock The Sales Game”, has become an instant best-seller worldwide. Ari has been featured in CEO Magazine, Forbes, INC Magazine and the Australian Financial Review. He is considered a contrarian in the sales industry and in his book, everything you learned about selling will be turned upside down. No more chasing, no pressure, no closing.

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8 Comments

  1. Steve Cassidy

    Thank you Ari. I’m like a sponge with your method of selling. It fits my laid back personality and really makes me comfortable and confident. I pass your information along to my contract operators all over the country. They really appreciate the information and so do I!

    Daytona Beach Florida

  2. Bill, Logan, Utah

    Thanks Ari…I really like your style!

    Hey Josh in Logan…email me will ya? [email protected]

  3. Alastair Dixon

    Hi Ari…another great piece of non-traditional sales advice. I agree that this approach will disarm even the most sold to prospect…it is so “NOT SALES”. I often find in our industry (design and project management for commercial refurbishment and fitout), that clients have a huge expectation of being sold to (ala car salesman)..sorry car salesmen out there!! Features / benefits / prices…blah, blah… they’ve heard it all before. The tack that we take, however, is to offer a wide open solution, forcing us to have a no preconceptions at the initial meeting. Our goal is to get it all, but sometimes the client has already got a supplier, or third party involved, which we not only need to respect, but also integrate into our solution if possible. While we are flexible in our offering, we never lose sight of who we are, what we do and the values we run our business on. My pitch, if there is one, is that we are listening and providing the answers to their problems. In this case, helping them find a new office, design and fitout the premises and relocate them in one smooth project. This can lead to our relationships with clients lasting for a year or more on large projects…but I am happy to say that with the “non pitch” approach, our repeat business is booming. If I could add to your advice, sales people need to think less about the transaction of the sale and more about providing the solution. Thanks for sharing Ari. Judging by the comments so far, Michael of NY will soon be writing some big business!!

    Perth, Western Australia

  4. Josh, Logan, UT

    More great stuff, Ari. Your company has come a long way since I first purchased from you 3 years ago. I’ve never sold the same since. I’ve gone into several meetings empty handed and just got people talking to me. Most people open up pretty quickly when you give them the chance. Some don’t. For the most part I’ve learned to quit wasting my time with them which was another great thing I learned. It’s freed up a lot of my time. Cheers. Josh

  5. Julie Denson

    Brilliant. So simple and makes so much sense. How did we get so caught up in the “sales games” that make communication so artificial and self-absorbed. Ari you are putting into words what most business people think. You’ve got guts, a rare commodity these days.

    Seattle, WA

  6. Michael Trent

    Damn Ari, you’re approach actually works! We did it today, in a tough environment like New York city. We walked into our meeting empty handed. The prospect almost flipped. He’s like “where’s you’re stuff?”. And I said it’s all in my head :). He just sat down with me, and we started talking about his situation and issues. An hour later, he told us we’ve got the deal. And that we were the first company ever to really just come in and listen to him and hear his issues, without making assumptions. My biggest mistake was not signing on with your program three years ago when I first came to your site!

    New York, NY

  7. Dora Clifford

    Great article that is going back to the basics. I loved it and know this works. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    Reynoldsburg Oh 43068

  8. James Troy

    One of the most well-known sales gurus just mentioned that you are the man to watch, breaking new ground for the entire sales industry. I just wished you came along earlier in my career. Your material is such a breath of fresh air and everyone knows deep down inside that you are making a major dent in old school traditional thinking. It’s about time someone did.

    Boston, MA

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