Last week we talked about following up on those valuable leads to make sure that we turn them into gold. Everything was about making that first contact and getting that first face-to-face meeting with the target customer. Getting that first meeting is a huge and important step towards turning those leads into gold, but now the real mining begins. This is when your talent as a salesperson is put to the test. This is when the selling starts, and you get the chance to strut your stuff.
No matter how you got there, even if you did not set up the meeting yourself, it is now your time. If you call yourself a sales person, now is the time to prove that you are one. One of my good friends likes to say that salespeople should always be selling, and not doing anything else like apologizing for late deliveries, or poor performance, but rather be selling at all times.
So, now you are at that first meeting. Stay cool, don’t let them see you sweat. This meeting is what you have spent your entire career preparing for!
Here then, are ten simple tips to making sure you have a great first meeting with that all important target account.
- Listen more than you talk. Ask questions, questions that are designed to take the target customer in the direction you want to go. Make sure these questions are prepared ahead of time. Ask them in a casual, and natural way that will put the prospect at ease. This is not an inquisition! It’s okay to take notes as longs as the note taking does not distract from the flow of the conversation.
- Be interested. If you are asking the right questions, in the right way, the prospect will actually be telling you what you need to know to do business with her company. This is very important. This information will be the roadmap for your tactical plan to win the account in the end.
- Put his company first. You are there to learn about his company. He only cares about what you can do for him. His company has challenges and it is up to you to provide the solutions to those challenges. Before you talk about your company, carefully select the attributes of your company that will help solve his problem.
- Be pleasant, be a good, and attentive, listener. DO NOT argue, contradict, or challenge at any time. Remember you are trying to get this person to want to do business with your company, and right now you are the only representation of your company that she sees. At this very moment in this meeting, the whole future of the relationship between this prospect and your company is in your hands, hanging on how you behave. So, behave accordingly.
- Start merging your ideas. Start demonstrating to your prospect what your company can do for her company. Be careful to stick to the facts. Stay away from prepare sales pitches. But rather base your sales pitch on what she has already told you her needs are. Stick to telling her how your company can meet these needs.
- Start ending the meeting when the time is right. If he told you he had twenty minutes, keep it to that…unless, he wants to keep it going, then stay as long as he wants you to be there. Otherwise keep it short, sweet and effective.
- Summarize the meeting including what the prospect said she needed and what you said you could do for her, and what the next step is.
- Always ask for that next step. Don’t tell the prospect hat that step is, let the prospect tell you. Recount that things he said he would do as well as the things you said you would do.
- Set up the next meeting before you leave, this first meeting. This is critical. Do not leave without setting up another meeting!
- Always send a summary of the meeting you just had. This should include what you discussed and what you both agreed to do. Of course, make sure that you include all of the above. And especially make sure that you list what the prospect committed to do for you.
And here is one more, always under promise and over deliver. Send a thank you card, thanking the prospect for meeting with you, make sure, it is sent snail mail, hand addressed and signed with a personal note included. This will go miles towards cementing your relationship.
If you take the time and effort to prepare for that first meeting and then you follow though using these guidelines, you will always be successful at turning those leads into gold. It’s only common sense.