If you are a sports fan then you know of someone on your favorite team that only comes up clutch in certain situations. The guy who is good at three-point shots but can’t get a rebound to save his life, or girl who’s the best corner kicker on the team who gets substituted in during the eightieth minute of a soccer game. They are not always the best overall at the game, but they are experts on their one task. Sales professionals have a similar type of player that they can bring off the “bench in high-stakes sales meetings”. I am referring to a subject matter expert (SME), who can come up clutch for your sales team in a meeting with a high profile client. In the article, 5 Tips on How to Use a Subject Matter Expert in a Sales Meeting, author Michael Dalis brings up a good point, just because you are bringing in an SME, does not mean you can let your guard down expect a win. In fact, he argues the opposite; everyone including yourself and the SME must be on their A-game. Although, they have the ability to provide their expert information to the client you, as the sales professional, must be the one to ensure that your SME will be ready for a sales meeting. Dalis provides 5 tips on how to ensure you select the most qualified SME and how to make sure they’re ready for their clutch moment.
1.) Choose Carefully
Their expertise should go without saying, but here are some less obvious questions to ask yourself… How will the SME’s style and personality blend with the sales team, and more importantly with the prospect? People like to do business with people they like.
2.) Define & Communicate Your Expectations
- Their role
- Who is leading
- Their involvement in pre/post game reviews
3.) Prepare Together
Get them up to speed on your teams strategy & step by step game plan for the meeting, as well as any critical information about your client & their organization.
4.) Set Intra Meeting Ground Rules
The SME should sit somewhere that portrays their position on your team and should be opposite their “likely counterpart” on the prospects team. After this is established the SME should take all of their “cues from you, keeping improvisation to a minimum.”
5.) De-Brief Together
By including your SME in your teams de-brief you can make the proper adjustments for your next client meeting. Also show them that they were appreciated and ask if they would like to be involved in future meetings.
Dalis wraps up his article by saying, bringing in a subject matter expert into a sales meeting does not guarantee you the sale. However, when “keeping the five tips above in mind” SME’s can be used properly and as a result, come up clutch in many high-stakes sales situations.
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