Before you start reading about how to perform different sales meetings remember this: People tend to only listen or remember the first parts of what you say. Therefore it is important to fill the first part of your speech, presentation, interview, etc. with things you want them to remember.
Here are a few examples of the different openings in your sales meetings.
- Ask the participants what responsibilities they have and why they chose to participate in the meeting.
- Start with the power words you really want the audience to remember.
- What is important for you is also to short pitch in 30 seconds what differentiates you and your company from your competitors. That needs to be clear.
In today’s really hectic business life it is vital to quickly make a difference. Humans judge other humans by their behaviour, looks, speech, etc. the first minutes they meet. Therefore you really need to use the first minutes to gain their trust and stand out from the rest.
Also, remember to keep the story of your company really short. No one is interested in listening to long stories about how big, powerful, or good your company is.
The clients want to hear about your understanding of their specific problems or situation and how you can solve those. This why they agree to meet you.
If they were interested in where you have your offices, how nice it is to work at your office, or anything else, they would have gone to your web and read it there.
Therefore, when you are presenting your company, focus on what you really want them to remember about your company, how you differ from others on a company level.
Also, do not forget that the purpose of the meeting is to identify if there is a business opportunity for you. That requires that you ask relevant questions so you can determine if this is worth spending time on or not, for both parties.
This knowledge should also be used when creating the story of why this specific company should work with you and no one else.
Make the client feel the following.
- That you listen, are responsive, understand and can analyse their needs
- That you and your company can deliver a solution to their needs
- That you have done it before, use references, how many clients you have helped with similar problems, etc. Reference stories should reoccur throughout your discussion. It is really powerful with the recognition effect.
Listeners only remember
approximately 5 – 7 percent of
what you have said
Your meeting could be built up like this:
- Initial introduction
- The agenda
- Short pitch about the relevant parts of your company
- Description of how you usually solve the problems discussed during the interview
- Summary (Involve the client in doing the summary, see below)
- If relevant, go through the remaining steps of your process to be clear
- Remember that the listeners only remember approximately 5 – 7 percent of what you have said. Take control of these percentages throughout your discussions by repeating the things that you really want them to remember. We recommend repeating what differentiates your product or company, that others experience the same problem, how others have improved thanks to your solution.
Preparation: If you perform the meeting online make sure you have tools to document (pen/paper or digital notes). It could also be good that you have something to drink close by.
Log in a few minutes earlier to check that all tech related things work properly. Therefore check your camera, camera angle, background light, microphone, and speakers.
Always! Set the scene: Explain why you are there and what is supposed to be discussed during the meeting. You should also ask the client what they expect to get out of the meeting and what you want to get out, i.e. the goal with the meeting.
This is also where you walk through the agenda. Don’t forget to display it on the screen or write it on the whiteboard! (If you meet onsite)
Also, check that the agreed meeting time still is valid and hasn’t changed! This important so you don’t find out in mid-meeting that the client wanted to shorten the meeting. Then you risk missing your goal with the meeting.
All individuals present themselves with names and roles. (If you have the time ask what personal goals these individuals have with the meeting.)
Interview phase: Interview the client to identify the true needs (not only the wants) and problems the client experience. Do not forget to ask for the holy dates (start of delivery, delivery, and when they can sign a contract).
If the person you meet do not know these dates you have two likely scenarios:
Remember: Ask the question WHY at least 5 times!
- The client is not in purchase mode. You might even have met a person who likes to kill time by listening and learning about your area.
- The person you meet is not the power sponsor.
Date questions are a good way of getting access to the true decision-maker. If the person you meet does not know when they can make a decision, start a potential project, or when they want something delivered, it is most likely not a decision-maker you talk to or there is no opportunity to discuss. You can also ask about who potentially could know and if that person can be involved in a possible next step meeting.
Present your company: Remember that the client is more interested in if and how you can help them with their problem than listening to facts about your company.
- Keep this extremely short and focus on what really differentiates your company from your competitors!
- Remember to talk about relevant references in this phase. Good stories about how you helped others with similar problems are really strong and build credibility!
Show your “trailer”: Give the client a taste of how you can help them. Remember you are here to sell not to list a lot of facts! This part of the meeting aims to secure the client’s interest in your solution and how you can help them with their problem.
This is a really important step in a sales meeting and it should be performed with enthusiasm. Show the client that you have a true passion for this, it will affect them.
Again, remember to include relevant references also in this phase!
Summary: Involve the client in the summary of the meeting. Discuss the pros and cons and ask the client what it would mean if they
- 1. do not resolve their problem (from a client’s client, revenue, work situation, employee, profit, service perspective).
- 2. resolve their problem (from a client’s client, revenue, work situation, employee, profit, service perspective).
If it is relevant, book the next meeting: Before you ask for a next meeting you need to explain what that means. The client will likely not book the next meeting if they do not know why and what’s in it for them.
Therefore, describe what the next step is “If you find this interesting, our next step is this…” Preferably write all activities you need to walk through with the client to get a contract, that makes it clear for them).
Once that is done, bring your smartphone calendar to the table and ask when you can have the next meeting and who should receive an invitation.