Written by Sean McPheat |
Preparation prevents poor performance. You know that. It’s the most obvious rule you’ve ever been told by your manager. But what sets you apart from the also-rans is the quality of your preparation. Here we take a look at what highly successful salespeople do to prepare for that first meeting with a prospect.
1) Research so you have specific reasons to call. Don’t just find out a few bits and pieces about the company; go beyond page 2 of Google and dig deep into the background of the company, so you feel you know them like a shareholder would. Be curious. Develop some powerful questions from your research that prove you want to help the company.
2) Search on Hoovers.com or Riskdisk.com to check their rating. This might help you investigate their credit rating, so you don’t go too far before finding out you are wasting your time!
3) Do a search on the industry and your prospect’s competitors. What competition are they facing, and what can you do to help them achieve higher market share?
4) Check if the prospect themselves is on LinkedIn or Plaxo or FaceBook. Can you find out something specific that would help you build good rapport or highlight a need that can be solved?
5) Set a specific goal for the first meeting. Don’t go in with the idea of just selling your product or introducing yourself. Have a clear idea of what you are trying to accomplish.
Examples might be: Find out their decision-making process, discover their buying cycle, determine their specific needs, leave a demonstration model, introduce a package that would suit their needs for the next six months, highlight a new product or service that will solve a specific problem or challenge they are facing.
Whatever it is, make sure you set the correct goal for the meeting.
6) Ensure they understand how valuable the meeting with you will be. Call beforehand to make sure they are still expecting you. Strive to arrive early. Spend three or four minutes in your car going over your notes before you go to the meeting. Get into the right frame of mind, especially if you’ve driven a long-distance for the meeting.
7) Make sure you build rapport with the receptionist or PA before the meeting. These will be the very people who will put you through when you follow up after the meeting.
8 )Maintain your confidence and professionalism, so you make the right impact with all you meet in the company. Check out the magazines they have in reception. Do they give you an idea of what periodicals your prospect may be reading and advertising in?
By ensuring you have all the knowledge and background you need before the meeting, you’ll have the confidence to create a great impression with the prospect now and when you’ve built the relationship in the future.
Originally published: 21 July, 2010
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