3 Keys to Successful Sales Meetings
A lot of effort and strategy goes into getting a meeting in sales. C-suite level managers are busier than ever these days. As a result, executives take fewer calls with salespeople than they used to.
Suppose you do get a meeting with an executive; congratulations. You’ve done something right, your message resonated, you’ve uncovered a need, or your persistence won them over. Regardless of the reason, you don’t want to waste all that time and energy, so your sales calls must be effective.
It’s hard to hear, but the truth is, most sales calls today suck. Most decision-makers don’t take sales meetings because they don’t see them as effective and valuable.
To support this, Forrester Group posted some findings from a research study that tells why. Their research shows that only 15% of executives find meetings with salespeople valuable. In addition, only 6% felt that the salespeople were trying to help deliver results by identifying problems and challenges and then offering solutions.
To combat this problem of sales meetings that suck, we offer three keys to successful first meetings:
1. Preparing in advance is critical.
No matter the size or scope of a sales meeting, preparing is paramount to success. Are you and your team clear on the objective for the sales meeting? Have you conveyed the primary purpose to the prospect, or are you just assuming they know? Believe it or not, many salespeople do not have clear objectives for sales calls, and preparation is rushed moments before the pitch. We regularly see that salespeople don’t have a strategic plan to hit goals or attain success for a sales call. While you cannot predict every situation in a sales call, you can be prepared to address typical challenges clients face. Proper research allows you to prepare insightful questions specific to the client’s needs and typical challenges their industry may face, uncovering the information needed to align your solutions.
2. Focus on the customer.
If your communication with the customer is all about you, your products, and your demo, it’s apparent that you are there to get a deal as quickly as possible. Too often, sellers jump right into their generic value proposition or scripted demo. Instead, it would be best to first communicate your desire to understand their priorities and challenges. We call this being others-centered. The customer needs to feel that you care about what is most important to them, their challenges, and how they solve these obstacles. So, please don’t talk about your products and services until you understand their needs. And then, speak to how your products solve those specific issues.
3. Demonstrate that you’re listening.
We spend a lot of time working with our clients on active listening because it is one of the best ways to build rapport with your clients. Just like getting better at delivering your demo, active listening is a skill that can be developed. Generally, it would help if you spent more time asking and listening than speaking. They need to know that you are interested in them and hear them. If they feel that they do not comprehend what they are saying, the quality of information you receive will quickly decrease. A great approach to demonstrate that you’re actively listening and to gain a deeper understanding is to clarify and summarize by saying, “Let me make sure I understand what you’re saying…..” and then ask a follow-up question. While this sounds very simple, it’s easy to get focused on your sales pitch rather than focusing on the client.
Kodiak Group is a sales effectiveness company that develops sales transformation programs and playbooks that drive results. Do you have anything to add? Leave us a comment!
We look forward to chatting with you.