In order to provide the best experience for our prospects and clients (us too), we must create a plan ahead of time for each of our meetings. This includes establishing goals, a clear next step, and assignment of roles during the meeting. I would also suggest you send your prospects and clients some sort of agenda ahead of time if the meeting involves multiple layers or an in-depth presentation.
I want to give you some practical steps that you can step through off before you head out to a meeting with a prospect or client.
1. What goals do you have for that meeting?
- Is this meeting about discovery? Then the goal should be to find out everything you can about the company include it’s background, it current state of affairs, and it’s goals for the future. Don’t forget to ask about other employees in complementary positions to your buyer/decision maker. All of these questions will lead you to uncover needs within the company. Simply asking, “what struggles are you having” doesn’t typically work.
- Is this meeting about presenting a solution to an uncovered need? If so, the goal should be to address the specific need, and do your best to leave everything out of your presentation that doesn’t specifically address it. This can be difficult because we all love bells and whistles, but anyone that has eaten at the Cheesecake Factory should know that when faced with too many choices, often times we make rash decisions (yes, I love food and am constantly overwhelmed by their menu though I love their food).
- You don’t want your customer to be overwhelmed so give them what they need, and save the bells and whistles for another time when you already have a sale made.
2. What will be the next steps once you accomplish your goal in the meeting, or if you don’t?
- Make sure that you go into your meeting with a plan. If you discover a whole bunch of info, what will you do with it and how will you disseminate it in your organization to move the sale along?
- If the goal is to make a sale and you do, what needs to happen next in order to fulfill that sale and make the customer happy?
- Or what if you don’t get the sale you hoped for? Often this is where deals are made or broken. Plan to follow up, get them on a drip campaign, or do something….just don’t do nothing (yes, a double negative).
3. Who will fill what role during the meeting?
- If you have more than one employee from your company, plan this ahead of time so people aren’t talking over each other or contradicting each other. I have seen it before and it gets real ugly real fast, and the customer sees it.
- If it’s just you and the customer, determine who you want to lead what areas of the conversation. You may be thinking that it is all about you dictating the pace and flow, but it’s not always the case. Often times, setting the customer up to drive allows you to listen more effectively, and leads you to a sale in a more efficient manner.
4. Agenda, agenda, agenda…did I say agenda?
- If you want to prevent distractions, and increase the probability of a sale, send your customer an agenda ahead of time. It doesn’t have to outline time breakdowns and every single step, but if you send them an outline of what you would like to talk about, and even some things they can do to prepare ahead of time, you will thank yourself later.
So there you have four helpful areas to address when preparing for a meeting with a prospect or client. If you would like to talk more about that please feel free to contact me. I can share with you some additional information as well as offer you some long term solutions.
The above information is part of The 10 Tools for Sales Success. Click the link below for a free download of all 10 Tools.
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