Sales appointments are difficult to get. When you have one, you need go in prepared to win.
Here are the seven things you can do to run successful first time sales appointments...
1. Introduce Your Agenda
Thoroughly research the client, prep your colleagues who will be joining the call, and define the objectives you're looking to accomplish. When the meeting begins:
- Present the agenda.
- Outline the value and benefits prospects will get from spending time with you.
- Probe for agreement by asking, “How does that sound?”
- After securing agreement, find out if any other agenda items need to be covered, “Is there anything else you'd like to discuss today?”
2. Identify the Problem
Come prepared with client specific discovery questions. For example:
- Ask about current initiatives: "I was reading about _____ (on your website, LinkedIn Profile, etc.). Tell me more about (the initiative)..."
- Ask about goals and responsibilities: "What are the most important goals and measurements you're responsible for?"
- Ask about successes: "Based on what you are currently doing, what seems to be working best?"
- Ask about challenges: "What are you struggling with the most? What's not working?"
3. Review Alternatives Already Explored
Next, review the alternative options a prospect is considering. Don't call them solutions. You are offering the "solutions". Everything else is an "alternative option" from "vendors". Ask questions like:
- "What alternative options have you explored so far?"
- "What options resonate most with you and your team? ...Why?"
- "What features you like most about those options? ...Why are those important?"
- "What solutions are missing from these other vendors?" (notice how I used the word solutions here... as in, the solution is missing)
When you identify what the prospect likes and dislikes about their current options, you'll be able to connect the dots between your solutions and what the prospect values most.
4. Introduce Potential Solutions
Remember, this is a first time sales appointment, so don't feel compelled to give definitive recommendations this early in the relationship. Instead, mention some possibilities you're considering to determine the prospect’s interest, buy-in, and possible objections.
Listen closely to the prospect's responses and questions they ask to determine the direction you'll take when you prepare the proposed solution/agreement.
5. Communicate Your History of Success
Take time highlight the effectiveness of your solutions with other clients, use the following to support your claims:
- Use Cases
- Success Stories
- Social Proof
Again, closely observe the prospect’s comments and questions so you can identify the things they care about most.
6. Leave time for a Q&A
Bring the meeting to a close with three very important questions:
- "What do you like most about the solutions we talked about today?" Get the prospect to verbalize what they like, and hear themselves saying it in their own words.
- "Before I leave, I want to make sure we cover any lingering concerns. What concerns do you still have that I can address before I leave today?" Just in case you missed it before, this is your chance to identify remaining issues or misconceptions about your company/offering.
Use follow-up questions to probe for deeper understanding. Your last question should be:
- "How does that help alleviate your concerns?"
Their response will determine if there's more to cover or if you're ready to transition to next steps.
7. End the Meeting with Next Steps
As the meeting comes to a close, review next steps the client has agreed to take, as well as the next steps you will be delivering. Before ending the appointment, make sure to schedule your next meeting. This ensures you keep the client engaged and maintain control of the sale.
Include these seven steps to ensure first time sales appointments are more effective. You'll have a better understanding of your customer's needs and be able to clearly identify what they care about most. That's they kind of information that keeps deals from stalling and improves your chances of closing the sale.
What other tips for effective first time sales appointments would you add to this list?