Do I Need To Be A Supplicant In a Sales Call?

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Demos, Sales, skmurphy

Q: In your blog post “Four Presentation Traps to Avoid” (which drew on Mike Monteiro’s “13 Ways Designers Screw Up a Client Presentation” which I found overall to be very valuable) you highlighted his item 4  “Not setting the stage properly” which ends with “Start the meeting by thanking them for their time.”

I feel this puts you below the prospect or customer as a supplicant. Your time is just as valuable. It’s a minor thing but I suggest “I’m glad we could all find the time to meet today.” or something that puts you at least level with who you are presenting to in terms of the value of your time.

You Can Be Courteous Without Being a Supplicant in a Sales Call

I empathize with your concern and I agree with you that you should not act as a supplicant in a sales call, but I have not seen it work out well when a team goes into a meeting with the attitude that the prospect would be wise or fortunate to do business with them.

“I am glad we could all find the time to meet today” is a reasonable preamble to a peer to peer undertaking and would make sense as a preface for a solicitation to solve a common problem (e.g, a neighborhood watch meeting, church group meeting, or an activity where everyone is volunteering their time for the common good).

But it feels odd as the opening to a sales pitch.

If they invited you in you might say “we are gratified to be asked to present today” but if you asked to come and present thanking them for their time–and by implication attention and consideration as a potential business partner–would seem to me to be common courtesy.

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