There are many components to a sales conversation: Discovery Questions, Buyer Needs, Value Drivers, Differentiators, but in order to ready yourself to command your sales conversation, you need to do the work up front to make sure the meeting is a successful one.
Here are three ways you can prepare for success and ensure a great outcome for your next prospect meeting.
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1. Send an Agenda
We know why you don’t want to send an agenda. You’re afraid if you remind someone that he or she has a meeting with you – they’ll cancel.
That’s flawed thinking.
You’ve already earned the right to have the meeting. To get the meeting, you most likely articulated the value you can provide your customer. Sending an agenda isn’t going to make or break the opportunity. “Oh I was going to choose that vendor, but can you believe what their seller did? SENT AN AGENDA!” (See? It’s not logical. Send an agenda.)
Any executive that’s been given authority to make a large B2B buying decision should take the meeting seriously. An agenda will demonstrate your business acumen, help your prospect prepare for the meeting, and positions you to have a successful meeting. When you send an agenda, make sure you also include the "3P's":
The Purpose – the goal of the meeting
The Process – define how the time will be spent
The Payoff – the relevant and tangible benefits that will pique the prospect’s interest
2. Define the Outcomes
At Force Management, our leadership team often starts meetings by asking everyone in the room or on the call, “What would be a good outcome for you?” This simple question accomplishes several things:
It ensures everyone is focused on the goals of the meeting.
It allows you, as a seller, to make sure you are aligning the. conversation with the needs and goals of the prospects in the room.
It creates a benchmark for a good meeting. Did you achieve the outcomes everyone was looking for? (If not, you know where you need to follow up)
When you call a meeting, make sure you’re prepared to ask the right questions, listen for customer problems, and guide the conversation in a way that demonstrates your ability to solve them. You never know who is going to be in the room, or where their mindset is going to be when you show up for the meeting. Always be audible-ready to articulate your value and differentiation in ways that speak to your customer’s biggest business problems.
Rachel Clapp Miller is the Assistant Marketing Director at Force Management. Force Management specializes in sales transformations that help B2B sales organizations increase revenue, improve sales margins and gain market share. Follow them on Twitter: @ForceMGMT and on LinkedIn.