Selling to an individual can be
stressful. Selling to a committee can be downright frustrating. One of my newer
team members recently was in a sales process where the prospect had a committee
of eleven individuals. I’ve sold to so many committees that it seems like second
nature, but to him it was rather new. He was concerned about “being
outnumbered” or how best to manage a crowd. It dawned on me that many sales
reps may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable in this type of sale, so here is my
Inevitably there will be an individual
on the purchasing committee that simply does not like you. And, just the same,
there will be someone that thinks the world of you. The rest will fall right in
the middle. Identifying these individuals early in the process is key to the
success of the remainder of the meeting.
When presenting, asking questions, or
sharing examples, give equal attention to the one that seems to be the “lack of
caring” as much so as to the individual that is fully engaged. Second, when
calling out those in the room, you will never remember each person’s name, but
attempt to call on at least two others, besides the two already referenced, by
their first name. This shows the entire audience you are giving it your best.
Make sure to make eye contact with every
single person when you are speaking. Don’t ignore anyone, especially the
quietest person in the room, as they may be a key factor in the decision
process. Every individual in the room, even the one that came in late, should
receive your business card. Do not let anyone leave without having your card.
And, encourage each and every person to contact you with any questions at any
Be prepared with your deliverable's. In
other words, if you were told that ten people will be on the committee and in
the meeting, take two or three extra copies of your presentation or proposal.
It is much better to have extras than to not have enough.
Last, relax and be yourself. Selling
to a committee can be intimidating. You are basically standing in front of a
room full of strangers and hoping they will buy from you. Often I’ve even
pointed this out, stating I’m here to sell you, but with a bit of humor. They
too may be uncomfortable with the process, so putting them at ease will go a
long way in winning them over.
You may not win over every single person
in the room, but go for it. If you come up one or two people shy of a unanimous
decision, the majority may suffice, and you will likely win the business.