Whiteboard Jiu Jitsu

Some things are better done in person (for my readers with dirty minds, I’m talking about sales & management, not what you’re thinking).

Today I’m going to talk about using 2 simple techniques to radically improve your results from face-to-face sales meetings. These will work in nearly every sales situation.

Even better, you can start using these immediately –  as soon as you finish reading this post.

#1 Get on the Same Side of the Table (literally*)

First, I want you to picture the typical sales scenario. You’re sitting across the table from your prospect. You’re explaining what you company does, how it will benefit him, blah, bah, blah.  You might even be presenting to him from a slide deck projected onto a screen.


What I want you to do instead is say,

“Here, let me show you.”

As you are saying this, stand up, walk around to his side of the table, drag a chair next to him and show him your screen, your sales collateral or even your legal pad.

It is that easy. You literally* (and figuratively) move to your prospect’s side of the table.

There’s something transformative when two people are sitting side-by-side looking at something together that changes the relationship. Instead of being in a potentially adversarial vendor/client position, you are now on the same side, working to solve a common problem.

I have done this innumerable times during sales presentations, 1-on-1s, coaching situations, management meetings, internal pitches, and even in my personal life with my kid, my wife and other family members. As someone who can be socially inept at times, I’ve found this to be one of the easiest ways to connect quickly with someone and create an advocate.

I know – this sounds too good to be true. So I challenge you to try it and see for yourself.

*This might be the very first time you ever saw someone use the word “literally” the right way. 

This whiteboard sold over $300K of Network Security

#2 Sell More Using the Whiteboard**

The whiteboard might be the most underappreciated sales tool that exists. Anyone can use a whiteboard effectively.  We already learned the necessary drawing skills in kindergarten.  We just didn’t realize we’d be using them later to help make sales.

Let’s revisit our face-to-face sales call. Many of us began our sales careers using the “show up and throw up” method of selling. We’d meet with a prospect and immediately start blurting out our scripted pitch – being sure to mention every possible feature and function – in the hopes that something would catch our prospect’s interest and he’d buy.


There’s a better way. I learned this method when I was a rep selling networking security services to IT directors. When it came to networking security, I was a complete novice. I literally (haha) knew nothing about our product or how to sell it.

My first objective in these sales meetings was to understand my prospect’s business, needs, obstacles and his networking environment. My next objective was to discover where my product might be able to help him.

Here’s what I did

As soon as the meeting began, I’d say,

“Look – rather than waste your time walking you through our standard slide deck, would you mind if I used your whiteboard?”

Then I’d walk up to the whiteboard and begin asking questions about the company’s environment. As I got information, I’d sketch it on the whiteboard: Servers here, PCs there, Internet Connections between them, firewalls in front, etc.

As I mapped this out, I’d ask the prospect for clarification. If I could, I’d even hand him the marker and say,

“Can you show me?” 

The next thing you know, we are mapping things out solution on a white board together. Just like that our relationship begins to morph from vendor & prospect into teammates working to solve a problem.

Even better, when it came time for me to talk about my product, 90% of the time, the prospect would draw it on the board saying,

“Here’s where your product would fit in”. 

It doesn’t get much better than that.

**If there’s no whiteboard, grab a blank sheet of paper and get on the same side of the table instead. 

I closed $15K in consulting with this one. My customer was thrilled with how it turned out..

Actually, it does get better

By working this way, you will accomplish more than just having a good sales meeting.

  • Your sales calls will be faster because you are only discussing what’s important to the customer.
  • You will have created an advocate within the company. He’s helped design the solution. Whether intentionally or not,  he’ll take pride and ownership of making this work.
  • Prepping for sales presentations is far less stressful. You know longer need to practice a “perfect scripted pitch”.

I encourage you to use arrows, make big Xs over things to be removed, show motion with sweeping lines and have fun with the process. There’s no rule that sales a sales meeting shouldn’t include a few laughs. My own drawing ability almost ensures this will happen.

And you will sell more.

Give it a shot at your next meeting and let me know how it goes.

If you want some help building your sales team or improving sales, contact me here. I’d love to hear from you. 

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