There are times when every sales team needs to re-evaluate their process for creating a successful sales meeting.
If your company has a major opportunity and you want the sales team to be fully equipped, or if your sales team is struggling to convert prospects into customers, make sure everyone is following this game plan for how to lead successful sales meetings.
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1. Pre-Meeting Preparation
A successful sales meeting happens well before the actual day of the meeting. In sports, a team doesn’t just show up the day of the game thinking they will win without studying tape, scouting reports, or tendencies. There must be ample preparation.
How much time you should spend preparing for the meeting is a function of your circumstances. If the prospect could be the biggest client of the year, then make sure you have done in-depth due diligence before the meeting. But, if the prospect is one of many you are trying to convert, then it may make sense to spend a little less time per prospect. Still be prepared, though, by doing this research:
- Review your notes from the sales development rep that set the meeting or your notes if you scheduled the meeting yourself.
- Research the prospect company and do not put blinders on by making assumptions. (PRO TIP: Read their latest blog posts/news stories, follow them on social media, connect with key decision-makers on LinkedIn.)
- Research trends in their market or industry.
- Research their main competitors and understand your prospect’s unique value proposition.
- Research the attendees who will be present at the meeting. (PRO TIP: Identity the employees who might be resistant to your product or solution and be ready to address their concerns.)
- Prepare thoughtful and targeted questions.
2. Day of the Meeting Preparation
Today is the day of the big sales meeting. So, rearrange your priorities to make sure you are on-time! And, if circumstances dictate that you cannot make the scheduled meeting time, then call or contact the prospect in advance.
Being late and contacting the prospect after the scheduled meeting time compounds the problem. It sends a message that the prospect is not a priority, creating even more resistance to your product or solution.
Once you are in the meeting, make sure you introduce yourself and go around the room asking everyone to briefly introduce themselves. This will also allow you to read the body language of each person and take the temperature of the room. One big mistake that salespeople make is trying to jump right to the meat of the presentation without establishing the tone of the meeting.
The key is striking a balance between helping everyone in the room or on the call get comfortable, and taking too much time before getting to your meeting agenda.
You should continue to control the meeting by outlining the objectives of the meeting. Always include a brief agenda at the beginning of your presentation. The audience knows you are there to sell to them, but you should resist the temptation to sell right away. Laying out the game plan for your audience helps reduce anxiety since they know where you are heading and that their questions will be answered.
3. Get to the Meat of the Meeting
Now is the time to hammer home the value your product or solution brings to their business. But, if you skip steps 1 and 2, the likelihood of finding a receptive audience diminishes.
During this step, you should listen to and learn from your prospect, then share your value proposition. It’s two-way communication where you are providing a broad overview of what your company offers while also gaining a better understanding of the prospect’s unique situation and most pressing needs.
What separates good salespeople from great salespeople is not boxing yourself into a smaller solution for the prospect too early. You want to stay big and broad about all of the solutions you can provide, while allowing the prospect to give you information about their current circumstances or priorities.
How do you uncover your prospect’s most significant challenges as it relates to your solutions? By setting the tone, which you already did, controlling the dialogue, and asking open-ended questions that help you unlock the company’s needs. This allows you to provide a more targeted solution that resonates with the prospect.
4. Vision Engineering Is Vital to a Successful Sales Meeting
How do you get everyone on the call nodding their head with understanding of how you can meet the company’s need? Through vision engineering, which is essentially aligning your solution with their problem or opportunity.
This also separates good from great salespeople. A good salesperson will stick to the talking points that the sales rep or marketing team identified for them ahead of time, which may have little to do with the prospect’s actual need.
But, a great salesperson will be able to adjust the solution to match what the prospect identifies as their area of need. This is accomplished in the previous step by listening, learning, and asking those open-ended questions to prepare to adjust.
5. Set a Specific Time Plan
Now that you have created a vision for how your solution can address their need, it’s imperative to set specific time parameters.
You do not want to walk away from the meeting with the prospect saying they are ready for the solution “as soon as possible.” The prospect could change their mind between today and tomorrow; your company may not be ready to implement the solution; or some other circumstance causes a disconnect.
A great salesperson creates a successful sales meeting by setting dates, times, and milestones in order to form an agreed-to game plan. For example, you or the prospect may need to bring another department into the situation to ensure proper implementation of the solution. This might require a separate meeting where additional details are shared and aligned to the decision process.
Most importantly, this helps lock in the prospect to your solution, reducing the opportunity for the prospect to back out.
6. Close the Meeting With Next Steps
How you close the sales meeting will leave a lasting impression with the prospect. As part of your preparation, be sure you walk into the meeting knowing what next steps you want to establish.
This includes getting on the prospect’s calendar for a follow-up meeting with all relevant players. You should also identify the dissenting voices in the room and make notes on how you, as the solution-provider, can help get them on the same page with the vision for how to address their specific need.
Finally, make sure you close the meeting on-time or within an acceptable timeframe by reading the body language of the participants. You want them to be interested and excited about your solution, not leaving with a feeling that you went on too long or did not address their specific concerns.
You should also restate the action items so that everyone is clear about the solution, what need is being addressed, the timeframe for following up, and what the next steps are to continue building to implementation. This helps confirm their interest as a reference point for future contact.
7. Follow Through
Just like a successful sales meeting starts before the actual meeting, it also continues after the meeting is over.
In your follow-up contact, be thorough about what was discussed during the meeting. This indicates to the prospect that you are making their needs a priority for your company. You should also focus on the prospect by talking about their business first and your solution second.
The overall theme of your follow-up contact should be about confirming their interest. You want to button up the details, remind the prospect of what was agreed on, and continue building toward a decision to implement your solution.
The prospect may come back to you a few days or weeks later questioning one of the items that was discussed. But, because you confirmed the details of your agreement up to this point, you can point to the elements that were agreed on in the letter and remind them of the benefits of your solution.
An average salesperson will panic if they left the door open for the prospect to back out because they did not follow the game plan or tried to cut corners. But, a great salesperson will have already tightened up the details by following the process and merely needs to address a small concern in the bigger picture of how the solution will benefit the prospect.
This game plan is about creating a successful sales meeting and reducing the chances of a prospect backing out after your presentation.
Now that you are ready to have a successful sales meeting, learn how ProSales Connection can set real meetings with prospects using our Sales Appointment Setting program!