Being prepared is sales 101. No leads can be converted without thorough preparation for a sales meeting. And most sales professionals realize this. However, the preparation in itself is ambiguous. Either due to the lack of training or clear communication, many sales professionals end up undertaking wrong practices.
Just arriving with an agenda and business cards, confirming the meeting beforehand, or researching about the person whom you are going to meet can make all the difference. Although these things seem obvious, they are essential for a good first impression.
Typically, sales professionals spend about 19% of their time in sales meetings. That is about one full day a week. In general, deals are not closed in the first meeting. According to the research from Marketing Wizdom, only 1 in 50 deals are closed within the first meeting. In this case, taking care of the small details is crucial not only for conversion but to get to the second meeting.
Here are 6 ways to improve your sales meeting prep to get closer to sealing the deal:
Spend time getting to know the company, what they do, what they are trying to accomplish, who they work with, and the advantage they would receive from working with you. Understand their market to avoid being caught off guard. Not only should you research the company, but the people involved in the meeting. Starting meetings with things you have in common can be a great ice-breaker. At the end of the day, we are all human, and making a connection is more memorable than facts. A good way to start your research is by finding them on social media. LinkedIn might be your best bet in keeping the conversation professional.
Have an Agenda
No matter how simple the conversation may be, always prepare an agenda. Simple outlines with talking points will set you aside from your competitors. Bring a hard copy for yourself and all others at the meeting. Being able to look down at your talking points will guide the conversation and help you stay on track.
Review the Pitch
Although you may have this perfected by now, take some time to review your sales pitch. Ask colleagues and friends to provide feedback. Remove parts that are not relevant or that don’t make sense. It is common for pitches to become “cliché” with buzzwords that are unnecessarily added. Comments like “forward-thinking”, “synergy”, and “dynamic” all sound great but what value does it add to your pitch other than a buzzword.
Prepare Your Questions
Knowing your audience, and having your pitch perfected are definitely required to make a lasting impression. However, it is not enough. A good meeting is an interactive one. Even though the clients are expected to ask questions in sales meetings, you should have your own set of questions. Having questions lets the client know that you’re not leaving any stone unturned in preparing yourself. Sometimes effort makes the best impression.
You may have been encouraged to practice all important things in life so far, but suddenly when it comes to work, you’re expected to just be perfect in the first go. This is an unrealistic expectation from yourself. Hold a practice meeting for important clients and smooth over the rough edges. You’ll be that much more confident for the actual meeting.
This may seem obvious but many sales professionals skip sleep in the anticipation of a big meeting. Getting 8 hours of sleep helps you feel refreshed and relaxed for the sales meeting. This will help you stand out, appear confident, and assured.
Try out these tips before your next big meeting, and you’re sure to land that opportunity!