A conversation with lower level managers prior to a meeting with the senior managers can help nail down key challenges that the company is facing, and therefore the opportunities. The focus should be on identifying three key problems that could be focused on in the meeting. Understanding the most important problems means listening to the customer, rather than going into ‘sales mode’ right away.
In a recent meeting, while we were pitching our SMS and email solutions, I realized that the opportunity lay in helping the company get mobile numbers of its 90% customer base that it did not have the contact info. That was the real problem that we had to focus on solving, and through which we could potentially get them to switch. Else, there was little reason for them to change providers.
At this stage, an understanding of the competition is crucial. The more the information gleaned, the sharper can be the solution proposed.