Sales Tips: Handling Large Groups
Similar to a swarm of spiders, large groups of people might just be as afraid of you as you are of them. Not a pretty picture with the spiders there, right? Thankfully, you only have to deal with people. And since you can actually talk to them, they’re much easier to work with than arachnids.
Expecting one client and having to receive and entertain several can prove to be a bit of a challenge. There’s more of everything – opinions, perspectives, questions, noise, coffee, laptops, phones, chairs, emails, and so on and so forth. Here are some guidelines on how not to let this type of situation overwhelm you.
Know your audience. It goes without saying that you have to do your homework about a prospective customer, in order to show him exactly what he’s gaining out of the deal you’re offering. Aside from your genuine interest in his business’ well-being, that is. Just like in a negotiation, preparation is key. Learn as much as you can about the company you’re pitching to, and its VMVs (vision, mission, values). Have a clear way in mind of how your product or service comes to support it.
In addition to the business details, make sure to also dig after personal interests, hobbies, passions. They will come in handy when you’ll be stirring that small talk, in order to set a positive tone to the meeting.
Create a good mood. As mentioned above, setting the mood for a sales meeting is highly important. People can adjust their willingness to participate after their level of comfort. Making small talk or even preparing a short speech to inform everybody about the meeting’s agenda can lower skepticism or anxiety levels. You can also try to introduce people, to steer the meeting towards a more personal level.
If it’s up to you to choose the location where the meeting takes place, and your company has a certain conference room drawn with a biophilic design in mind, book it. Biophilic design takes into consideration all five senses, inducing a state of familiarity, comfort, safety. The result is a relaxed, malleable state of mind, which is exactly what you want in a prospective client. Top that with a full stock of refreshments, coffee, and treats, and you’ve got yourself a winning environment.
Be ready to listen more than talk. Having your presentation prepared to the last detail is crucial. You do not want to be caught off guard by a question or request. That’s why you should prepare a flexible pitch, ready to be adjusted to the existent conditions. This will also enable you to pause as much as necessary, without losing the flow of the discourse. And pause you must. Receiving questions during the presentation (not after, as it’s sometimes done) will ensure your audience does not miss any of the facts; it also shows that they’re actively listening and are interested in what you have to say. Plus, there’s a lot you can do to leverage silence in your favour.
Keep your eye on the bride. It’s not uncommon for a bride-to-be to take a large retinue of family members and girlfriends with her when going to try out wedding dresses. Each and every one of them will have an opinion, will seek to stretch out the available offer, or will try to push for discounts and bonuses. What you have to keep in mind is that the only person in the room that must be pleased when the deal is closed is the bride.
In the same manner, during a sales presentation that has gathered a rather large audience, keep in mind the person who needs to be convinced at the end of the meeting is the one that holds the authority. If you identify multiple stakeholders, lean towards the one who seems to be the leader of the group. Even if the decisional power is divided among them, there’s usually one person whose judgment weighs more. As with the bride-to-be, focus on this particular individual to drive the point home.
If selling to large groups is more the general rule in your line of work, rather than the exception, you might want to consider studying a bit of crowd psychology. It’s absolutely mesmerizing what you can do with a considerable audience, if you have the patience to learn some techniques.