Written by Sean McPheat |
Some salespeople relish meeting new prospects. They love the anticipation of the initial stages, are keen and eager to assess the business opportunities and are happy to build relationships that sometimes last years.
Others are not so secure. They become nervous about the impression they are about to make and are concerned about saying or doing the wrong thing with a person who could make or break the sale or long-term future relationship.
Whatever your situation (and there are probably countless other feelings going through your mind and body before meeting a prospect for the first time), there are some things you can and should do in the time building up to the meeting that will prove to be advantageous and rewarding.
Whether you do these while sitting in your car on the prospect’s car park, on the train journey to the meeting, or in the reception, they will help you in the few minutes prior to meeting the prospect.
– Complete your preparation: You’ve read their LinkedIn profile, re-read the google reports on the company and acquaint yourself with the up-to-date news that has been published or is on-line about the company or individual. Just skim read this info again, so you’re clear on what is current.
– Be clear on your objectives. What do you want to achieve from this meeting? Is it clear in your mind? If you can’t get this primary objective, what’s the least you want from the meeting? If you can hit your secondary objective, it means the meeting hasn’t been a failure.
– Think of the small talk you want to have that will set the scene as you go with the prospect to their office or wherever the meeting will be: Don’t over-prepare this, but have something of interest to say in the first few moments after the handshake. By the way, a long-winded description of the terrible journey you had would not be appropriate here. If you actually did have the journey from hell, just say something like “Well, you know how traffic is these days!”. You don’t want to start off on a negative point!
– Get into the right state of mind: This involves creating clarity of ideas and identifying how you will keep on track during the meeting. The state of mind might be one of ‘discovery’, where you spend time asking quality questions. Or you might be at the ‘negotiating’ phase with this prospect. In this case, you will want to have the frame of mind that allows you to listen effectively and build negotiable interests. Whatever the aims and objectives are, decide on the best mindset to achieve those goals.
The final five minutes before any meeting should be used to prepare and pre-frame the time you will spend together. It could be called ‘golden time’ as it can supply rich pickings if you get it right. Aim to arrive early just so you can achieve the right outcomes for you and the prospect.
Originally published: 28 August, 2014