In sales, those who prepare perform better than those who wing it and hope for the best.
When field sales team members meet prospects, this can be make or break. It’s somewhat different when a field sales rep goes out to meet an account/client. These relationships have developed over months or years.
Initial meetings with new sales prospects, potential clients, need more preparation. It is too easy for busy sales teams to overlook, forget or skim over this work in the hope they will do alright in the actual meeting.
In a way, many are simply hoping that an outgoing nature, a bit of charm, and talking about mutual interests, should do the trick.
This isn’t always the case, and in this article we look at exactly what a sales person should do to prepare for in-person meetings more effectively.
How to prepare for sales meetings?
For those already using i-snapshot, all of this data can be pulled straight into your phone. Saving time when preparing for a meeting.
#1: Step 1
Start with all of the information you’ve collected on the prospect so far.
Go over your notes from any calls or emails exchanged. Consolidate this in a summary document and/or enter it into the CRM (make sure you can access this on your phone or laptop before the meeting).
#2: Step 2
Next, make sure you are clear on what you need to know. Overlooking key qualifying questions now is the shortest route to trouble after a meeting, especially if the meeting itself seems positive.
For example, in most B2B discussions, you need to know:
- Does the person you are speaking with have budgetary authority? If not, who does, and can they persuade them?
- How urgent, or not, is putting this solution into practice?
- Why are they trying to solve this particular issue now, and what happens if they don’t?
- If they aren’t the budget holder, what would help them get sign-off from those responsible?
- Are they looking at other similar solutions, or do they have a provider already in-place (and if yes, why are they shopping around)?
- Do they have a clear understanding of what you are providing and how you solve their problem? Prospects that don’t understand aren’t always going to be a great fit for promoting it internally and getting sign-off/a budget.
Consultative selling is a conversation with a purpose.
Transactional selling is somewhat easier; but still relies on a clear understanding being established between both parties that a transaction is the desired outcome.
Sales people need to know whether a prospect is a viable lead. A potential client needs to understand the solution on offer, needs to know they’re going to benefit from it, and they can afford it.
Asking the right questions in an exploratory conversation puts sales teams in a much stronger position when following-up, when creating proposals/pitches, and for giving an accurate estimate whether or not a deal will convert in the sales pipeline.
#3: Step 3
And finally, make sure you’ve not overlooked any public sources of information about a potential client. For example:
- Have you checked their website?
- Social media?
- LinkedIn profiles of the person you are meeting and other key people on the team?
- Press releases and news articles?
- Blogs and any other sources of information, such as newsletters and case studies?
Read up everything you can so that you’re clear on what they’re doing — or at least what they are happy to talk about publicly — and note it down so it can be potentially used in the conversation.
Before an initial meeting, doing your homework and then in the meeting, showing that you’ve done some homework goes a long way towards assessing whether this is a good fit for both parties.
Preparation saves time after initial meetings. It is a relatively small time investment upfront to get better results down the road. It improves outcomes. Doing some homework now benefits both sellers and buyers.
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