A Botched Sales Meeting Taught Me a Lesson I’ll Never Forget
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A Botched Sales Meeting Taught Me a Lesson I’ll Never Forget

- Venkataraman Subramanyan

Early in my sales career, one scorching summer day, I found myself drenched in sweat, my shirt glued to my back, and a constricting tie around my neck. 

My organization wanted me to speak with decision-makers, go out there and bring in large deals.

I was charged up to deliver and cement my position in the enterprise sales team.

So I decided,  let me go ahead and meet up with a healthcare major, and call really high – I fixed up a meeting with one of their directors.

She was a very polite woman, she said, ‘Okay Venkat, I will give you 30 minutes”

I arrived at her office 10 minutes before the meeting.

Despite my initial discomfort from the heat outside, her spacious, air-conditioned office with its serene ambiance immediately put me at ease.

As we exchanged pleasantries, the conversation gradually shifted from casual to more business subjects.

She said, what do you do? That took me about five minutes to explain all about our company and our products. 

Back in the day, we used to even carry a briefcase with brochures, imagine that now!

Anyway, I was waxing eloquent about all that we do. 

However, her questions soon revealed my unpreparedness. 

She said, enough about what you are saying, tell me, how will what you do show up in our business results?

I went blank. I didn’t know what to say.

She then said, what do you understand about our industry?

Again, a blank. 

Finally, she said, how much do you know about our organization?


I was flustered.

Despite my initial confidence, I was unprepared to answer any of her meaningful questions – this required a completely different level of preparation.

I profusely apologized, saying I will come back better prepared.

I never called her back. 

This experience was an eye-opener. 

It highlighted the importance of diligent preparation before any customer interaction. 

Since that day, my mantra has been: every customer meeting demands three parts preparation and one part execution. 

You might believe you can wing customer meetings, but the real challenge lies in leaving a lasting impression.

Let’s unpack these 3 parts,

1.Understand Their Industry

Grasp the intricacies of the industry you are pitching to. 

Know the challenges, trends, and potential areas of growth.

2.Familiarize Yourself with Their Organization

Dive into their organizational structure, KPIs, objectives, culture, and pain points.

3.Know the Individual

Understand the role of the person you are meeting. 

Recognize their influence, their challenges, and how your product or service can assist them.

If you don’t prepare for all of this, it will be a disaster, at best, a polite disaster.

It is our responsibility to make our conversations distinct, differentiated and memorable for every customer.

You can also collaborate with colleagues who can yield valuable insights. 

This approach, often termed ‘hunting as a pack’, allows for collective observation, drawing from diverse perspectives, and strengthening your pitch.

Lastly, always lean into fear and uncertainty. Such moments, although intimidating, can be transformative, unveiling your untapped potential and resilience.


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Venkataraman Subramanyan is a Global Leadership Development Expert & Sales Coach. He is the Founder and CEO of Tripura Multinational. Venkat’s mission is to touch and transform a hundred million lives by 2025, and a billion lives by 2030. With over 30 years of experience, Venkat is passionate about 2 things – Leadership Transformation and Sales Acceleration. His trademarked deal qualification framework is licensed worldwide by organizations and filters over $3Billion in deals annually. He is an accredited member of the Forbes Coaches Council.

Tripura Multinational is a dynamic sales organization dedicated to empowering sales professionals and organizations to achieve unparalleled success. Originally established as a platform to address skill gaps in the sales industry, Tripura has evolved into a multi-faceted entity that offers comprehensive engagements for Sales Managers and Sales Leaders. Through the transformative power of Sales Coaching, Tripura enables sales organizations to elevate their performance from good to great and ultimately reach a world-class level. Our approach focuses on optimizing sales skills, management expertise, and leadership capabilities, helping clients plan more effectively, qualify leads better, orchestrate sales processes seamlessly, and expand their business with confidence. 

Our organisation is the trusted choice of market leaders across various industries and segments, relying on our expertise to elevate their performance to new heights. Recognized for our ability to enhance excellence, we are entrusted with the task of making the client’s best even better.

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