How I Prepare Before a Sales Meeting
Having been in business for 30 years I’ve had my fair share of sales meetings. Formal sales meetings in which I am told that I will be pitching to a team of decision makers or informal when I’ll be meeting one-on-one with the person responsible for making the decision whether or not to hire me.
Not being a big fan of the “winging it” school of business and regardless of the formality of the meeting I always make it a point to prepare for the time I will spend with my prospects.
As someone that has been on the receiving end of sales pitches I know the importance of preparation. Consider if you will a meeting that I had some months ago with someone that had reached out to me at exactly the right time for me to explore their particular service. Imagine too that when we sat down to speak they had no knowledge of my business and started the meeting with this insightful question “so what business are you in anyway.” (Note: they didn’t win my business.)
I always train and coach my clients on the need for pre-meeting planning. These are the “rules” I follow for my own business”
Do a thorough Google search on the company and their key personnel. Don’t rely on the prospect’s website to tell you the full story. See what you can learn from other sources.
Check out LinkedIn to see if you have any contacts in common. If you discover that a close contact of yours has a relationship with the company make it a point to reach out and see if you can learn anything else that may be relevant for you to know.
Check out the company’s marketing materials and advertising. In some instances you can go online and request information directly.
Prepare a list of questions that you will ask during the presentation. If you ask the right questions prospects will tell you pretty much everything you need to know to advance the sale.
Prepare your presentation regardless of whether or not you are using a PPT or any visuals. Make certain to create a presentation that will fit the situation and the allotted time and attempt to anticipate what they want to hear.
Practice and then practice some more. Nothing makes a presentation go better than taking the time to practice what you are going to say.
Make certain that you know the location for the presentation and how you will be getting there and take into account any potential transportation challenges. Give yourself plenty of time so that you can be on time. (My on time is actually 10 minutes early.)
Find out who will be attending the presentation so that you will bring enough handouts and can also check them out all of the participants on Linkedin.
At this point are you thinking that these steps appear to be incredibly time consuming and that you can probably take some shortcuts? My advice is simple: don’t.
Getting sales appointments is tough and you want to make certain that you’re well prepared for every eventuality.
My motto: Prepare more, close more.
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