Last week my blog focused on tips for running a productive business meeting. As I was writing, my mind naturally transitioned from internal meetings to sales calls: At its core, Shamrock is a sales organization. And because I spent years as a straight-commission sales rep, I have some experience regarding what works to set the stage for a more effective sales meeting. Now, as an executive, this type of structure is what I appreciate when a salesperson calls on me:
- Reconfirm the start and end time. This helps to keep the meeting on track and sends the message to your customer that you value his/her time.
- Reiterate the reason for the meeting. Are you reviewing an existing order? Planning to introduce a new product or solution? Be specific. And also, be flexible: The client might have more pressing issues that have come up since you scheduled the meeting a week ago; be ready to pivot and redirect to best meet your customer’s needs.
- Be Prepared. To maximize meeting productivity, make sure you have all the
information you need by preparing questions before you get there.
- Ask questions. Set the tone for your meeting by letting your customer know that this isn’t a one-way sales pitch: “I’m sure you’re going to have questions for me—I know l have questions for you.” This is a subliminal way to hint that communication is two-way street.
- Identify next steps. Make a list of actionable items throughout the meeting. Identify what needs to be done to move the sales process along—maybe there are benchmarks that you’ll need to hit to move the process forward. Remember: Not every meeting results in a sale. It could be that there is no future—and that’s ok, too. Either way, you want to know where you stand before you leave the meeting.
Sales is all about serving the customer: Let them be heard—and then really hear what they have to say. The rest is all about following up with quality products/services and personal service. At the end of day, regardless of our industry or market, we all want to work with a sales rep who just gets us—and then gets it done.