But thatâ€™s beside the point. The sales rep, of course, was fine – he presented the info we needed to assess the product. It was an interesting meeting on a new model for music in libraries. Whatâ€™s not to love about that?
But on the other hand, he did a couple of things that I have seen A LOT of sales reps do over the years, and it reminded me of other things Iâ€™ve seen in other product demo meetings.
So – Sales People of the World. Here are 5 ways to improve your pitch:
- Know how to use your own technology. Iâ€™ve seen this more than once – a sales rep takes us through a Powerpoint presentation, but never actually uses â€¦ um â€¦ the presentation mode. Instead, they have scrolled through the individual slides with a mouse. Or they advanced one slide too many, then didnâ€™t know how to go back to the previous slide. Or simply didnâ€™t know how to plug their laptop up to an LCD projector. All that says is that you donâ€™t know how to use technology … even thought you are trying to sell us a technology product. Not. Good.
- Know technology in general. Be familiar with general technology terms, especially when it relates to the product youâ€™re trying to sell. For example, donâ€™t ever confuse downloading and online streaming. Two very different things. If you confuse those pretty basic things â€¦ and youâ€™re selling a technology-related product â€¦ why should I trust you with my organizationâ€™s money? Ever?
- Donâ€™t be negative about your own product. Iâ€™ve seen this many times. Either the rep will say the pricing will turn off many libraries, or the product isnâ€™t really ready yet. Really? Then why are you here, wasting my time?
- Know your product. This happened in todayâ€™s meeting. Part of the coolness of the product is that it connects to Facebook and Twitter. If thatâ€™s the case, then by golly gee whiz, you had better show us what it does by clicking the Facebook button and hooking it up through your Facebook account – instead of saying â€œI donâ€™t have a Facebook account yet.â€ One more example: I remember â€¦ granted, a LONG time ago â€¦ seeing the first web-based GEAC interface (thatâ€™d be a library catalog system). It didnâ€™t display call numbers.Really. The rep didnâ€™t seem to notice this in his product, until I pointed it out to him. Then he proceeded to blame the “home office” for it. Not the best way to sell a product, Iâ€™m thinking… which leads me to #5:
- Donâ€™t blame the home office. If you donâ€™t know stuff, never say â€œthey didnâ€™t tell us that.â€ I could care less who told/didnâ€™t tell you, and it makes it sound like the sales staff and the home office are somehow at odds with each other. Instead, just say â€œGreat question! I donâ€™t know, but Iâ€™ll find out. Whatâ€™s your email address?â€