I've given many sales pitches where the conversation looks very much the same. It starts with a strong product pitch, the prospect leans in and asks engaging questions, but then the same response flares up that leaves me feeling defeated - "This is great, but I think we have this handled right now".

Yes, the dreaded "good enough" response. If you've ever pitched a product to a company, you know what I'm talking about. It's the one response that's the hardest to push back on, because you have the uphill battle of convincing someone that whatever they have should not be thought of as "good enough."

Thoughts race through your mind, such as "well, if it was good enough then we wouldn't be in business selling something better," to "just give us a shot to prove what we have is better." Right at that point though, you're dealing with a prospect that's not convinced what you have is worth the consideration.

What's missing then, isn't more data or case studies. What you do need is a clear value proposition that gets the prospect to see that your solution will create the kind of results they're most concerned about.

The one thing every successful product has then is a clear message that defines why good enough isn't adequate.  You want them to see that it's worth investing in whatever it is you're selling.

Here are a handful of tips on how to take people from "what we have is good enough" to "when can you come by the office?"

1. Ask Questions, Don't Make Assumptions

A great way to think about this point is that if someone in an enterprise sales context doesn't trust you, they typically aren't going to buy from you. The only way to really build trust is to demonstrate that you genuinely empathize with their pain points, and have listened well enough to be able to truly understand where they're coming from. Begin with a focus on asking a lot of questions so you really do understand what they need and whether or not you can help.

2. Inform Instead of Sell

No one likes to get sold to: no one. In a sales meeting, once you have listened and worked to understand what's needed, focus on sharing knowledge, solving a problem for them, or giving them something useful they can use once they leave. Your product can easily fit into the midst of that conversation. This will also demonstrate that you're an expert in your field along with having a product that that may help them as well. People love to get their problems solved, so why wait to help them do that till after they've bought your product. A free hour of consulting will always sell far more work than a sales pitch.

3. Leave Something Behind, And Wait 3 Weeks to See What Happened

It's important to know the difference between harassing and following up. Recognize that some product pitches take some time to germinate inside of an enterprise. If you provided the right value in the meeting along with something to take back with them, a follow up the next week is fine but don't be pushy. Instead wait to see if they have reached back out 2-3 weeks after the meeting.

There's many more tips I could provide about selling to enterprises, but these key points serve as a foundation to getting past "good enough" and helping establish your product as something no targeted executive can live without. If you build trust, invest in the relationship, and provide the right kind of value (think free consulting vs product pitching) then you're off to a great start.

Published on: Aug 24, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.