Upcoming sales meeting this week? New prospect . . . are you ready? I’ve been holding sales meetings for more than 20 years and have faced every sales situation imaginable. In that time, I’ve developed an easy strategy to ensure that first meeting runs smoothly and has less tension.
The best way to get the ball rolling for everyone involved is, to begin with a simple agenda – don’t be intimidated about putting this together. It’s an excellent tool and framework from which to launch. Plan to send this to your potential client prior to the meeting.
A straightforward, 5-point agenda works best – this would include the following items: tell me about you and your business – here’s a little bit about us – possible opportunities – next steps – and, a mutually agreed-upon date with which to reconnect on your findings.
1) Ask your potential client to tell you about themselves. It’s critical to get your prospect talking – about him or herself – their business – and, the challenges they face. During this initial part of the meeting – keep mum and let them have the floor.
2) Segue into a bit about you and your company. Based on some of the information they’ve provided, particularly the challenges they face – share some of the possible solutions you can bring to the table. Make your statements brief; but, definitely reflective of the prospect’s needs.
Don’t forget to tell a story which showcases each solution. It reinforces your value in a very real way.
3) Based on your discussion – engage on opportunities to work together; where to focus and how to best collaborate to meet your prospect’s business objectives. Let me be clear – there won’t always be a good fit, but that’s okay. Accept it and move on.
4) If the prospect appears to be on board with the opportunity; plan out next steps – this may be the most critical step in the process. We have all been in a great meeting, very cordial and “productive.” Then, the prospect never returns your contact. This is your fault because the specific responsibilities and the deadline to re-connect were not agreed upon.
By the end of the meeting, you will have clarity on the objectives and how to best move forward. Summarize your meeting with, “Based on our conversation, I understand these 3 challenges are of most importance, so here are my recommendations … I’d like the opportunity to develop and provide you with a concept paper to reinforce how we will address the problem.”
5) Finally, come to an agreement on a date for your response; and, a date when your prospect will reply to your proposal. I’ll tell you this: from my experience, the “agenda” is both empowering and liberating; not to mention an excellent tool for you to be in control of the dialogue during a sales meeting.
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