The Initial Sales Meeting
The first sales meeting with a potential buyer sets the tone for all future interactions. Every salesperson understands how critical the initial sales meeting is. Heaven knows how difficult it can be to schedule a meeting with a target client prospect – you do not want to waste your hard-earned opportunity. Here are initial sales meeting tips to get it right.
It’s All in the Preparation
The first step to prepare for your sales call is to learn all you can about your target buyer – their priorities, their challenges, their scope of influence, their communication style, their interests outside of the workplace, and so on. And then you need to research the company to understand their markets, customers, competitors, strengths, threats, opportunities, and weaknesses.
This context is essential for consultative selling success – whatever you’re selling must have relevance and application for the buyer, their issues, and their standing in the organization.
7 Initial Sales Meeting Tips to Follow
- Build Rapport
Meetings rarely start right on time. You should be there, of course, and set to go, but there may be key members who straggle in. While you give them a reasonable amount of time to arrive and settle, fill the time with friendly conversation. Then be prepared to switch into the “expert” role.
- Restate the Purpose of the Meeting
Make sure everyone knows why you have gathered so there’s agreement on where you’re headed. Say something like, “We’re meeting today to explore ways we can shrink your sales cycle and increase win rates.” Keep it simple, clear, and focused on the client.
- Set Expectations and Invite Agenda Items
Every effective meeting has an agenda. Outline briefly where you want to start and where the discussion is likely to go. Solicit the thoughts of your buyer before you head off in the wrong direction. The more you understand the buyer’s objectives for the session, the more you can satisfy their needs.
- Open the Floor
This is your chance to find out what matters most and observe how the buying process will unfold. To really understand how to best help your client to succeed, be open to interruptions, encourage questions, and tactfully guide the discussion so you don’t cede control.
- Tell Your Story
If you’ve properly laid the groundwork, this is where you need to tell a compelling client-centric story. Identify what matters most to them and clearly articulate how your offering will help your client to succeed in a way that matters most. Done right, your story will show that you are an ally focused on helping them to succeed personally and professionally – not as an adversary in a push-pull exchange.
- Inspire Their Collaboration
Now you shift to their side of the table to work together on a solution that makes sense. Ask effective sales questions that inspire them to envision how their organization would benefit from what you offer.
- Agree Upon Next Steps
Before you end the sales meeting, suggest, and then agree upon, a next step that will further the sales process. It may just be a second session with more time and additional key stakeholders. But this is critical to maintain momentum.
The Bottom Line
Initial sales meetings can be daunting. But there are tips that can help you prepare and carry out the session to a successful conclusion and a next step in the sales process.
To learn more about effective sales questions to improve your performance, download 30 Sales Questions More Important than Budget When Selling Solutions