Perfectly ironed business clothes. Check.
Smart brown leather bag with my laptop. Check
Arrived 10 minutes before the meeting? Check.
I had taken a long cab ride to get to my meeting ahead of time.
I popped in a mint though its not even 10am in the morning (Its always important to have fresh breath).
Me: “I’m here to meet Mr A.”
Receptionist: “Let me check. Oh, I’m sorry Razy. He’s not able to make the meeting this morning. But his colleague Mr B will be joining on his behalf.”
Me: “Ok. No problem.”
I walk around the waiting area waiting for Mr B.
Mr B: “Hello Razy. Sorry Mr A couldn’t make it.”
Me: “No worries. Here’s my card. So how long have you been at Company ABC for?”
Mr B: “Oh, I’m new here. I don’t have a card. Actually, I’m just an intern.”
Just. An. Intern!
I’d spent money on a cab ride, spent all the time on the commute, made sure I was on time and the person I’m supposed to meet isn’t there.
I’m experienced in the business. I’ve so much value to add. Heck, my job title has the word Director in it. But the person I’m supposed to isn’t here.
And to make things worse, he sends the intern?!
These thoughts raced through my head.
At that moment, I had to make a choice.
Leave in a huff and be upset that I was not respected. OR
Have the meeting and provide so much value to the intern that he walks away impressed and having learnt a few things about digital marketing.
I chose to stay and have the meeting.
I shared the basics and helped him better understand how SEO and SEM work. I even showed him what to look out for when hiring agencies for performance marketing.
The meeting ended. He became my internal champion and that helped clinch the deal that was just slightly more than $100,000 (It was $114,782 if you really want to know but that does not make for a readable article title).
In sales, we always talk about BANT. It is a qualification methodology that a sales team uses to qualify a prospect i.e. if its a good prospect or not.
- Budget – does the prospect have a budget? If so, how much?
- Authority – is the person I’m talking to the decision maker?
- Need – do they have a need for my product / service?
- Timeline – how soon will the project kick off or what is the urgency for my service?
If I had followed this methodology strictly, the intern would’ve failed at Authority. Thus, it would be recommended that I stop pursuing this prospect and have another meeting where the decision maker would be present.
The methodology provides a framework and should not be followed to the T.
You do business with people. People do business with people they like, trust and value.
The lesson that I learnt from my interaction with the intern is to look beyond a person’s title and where they are at present. When you are already at a meeting, provide as much value as possible.
The person in front of you maybe the intern today but someday they might be the manager or the CEO.
The person in front of you might not choose to work with you today, but somewhere down the line, they might become a customer.
Remember to look beyond a person’s title. Provide immense value. These can help you in sales and business.
And like in my experience, even land you a $114,782 deal.