I received a mail today morning saying I had to have a discussion with a sales team member from Bangalore. I had the discussion and it turned out that I have to go and meet a client to further gather information to fine tune our business proposal. The sales team member walked me through a demo of our product also noting the points they were expecting more information on. They also wanted me to advice the client on how our product could cater to their needs on a fly-by basis by speaking to them. I was also told to propose ancillary add-ons that we could translate into sales.
Iv read many notes saying that one needs to address professional stereotypes in B-School apps. One of them is that Engineers are superbly gifted in quantitative areas, but poor in soft skills. Sitting and absorbing the inputs over the call made me realize why such stereotypes exist. I could always visualize myself consulting and advising clients on how and why they should do a certain thing technically. But to be able to tie the client's background, anticipate the client's unspoken requirements and tie them with our product offering was a completely new ball game for me.
Add to this the expectations that I must try to plug our commercial terms and ancillary offerings with demos if needed, and I began wondering what made them think I could do this.
If there is something I have learnt through "experience", it is that one must break down a problem into solvable parts and solve each part individually before bringing together all the parts to present a complete solution. Keeping that in mind, I have broken down the tasks into presentations and quantitative areas.
I pulled out the client websites and read it end to end, pulled out the client profile from LinkedIn and saw what background the client has and where I could introduce some conversation fillers based on shared experiences. The quantitative areas would be taken care of by preparing a detailed questionairre which will include which part of the meeting a certain question must be asked in along with any points of note as markers. Will sit with a team member to understand the features and if possible include a demo of the add-on product offerings that we intend to advertise to the client. Have asked mom to get my business formals attire when she is visiting this weekend (the meeting will be scheduled for early/mid next week.) Also spoke to a friend (who has an MBA from IIM Lucknow) to crosscheck the items that needed to go into the meeting/presentation.
All in all, I plan to go prepared with what I feel is the best I can do. The rest whatever has to happen will happen!