Written by Sean McPheat |
22 January, 2019
Preparation is key when meeting a new client.
You certainly don’t want to risk ‘winging it’ with someone new, especially if it’s the first time you have met with them.
This is a great opportunity to find out whether this prospect is a good fit for your and your company, and whether they are likely to prove profitable for you.
You don’t want to risk all for a small return on then time and effort invested in them.
So, what should be included on your agenda when meeting with a possible client?
How can you make sure this visit is productive and fruitful?
Here are some tips:
Don’t attempt to pitch
This may sound obvious, but you would be surprised how many salespeople try to talk about their products early on.
You haven’t earned the right yet to try to sell anything.
Outline what you wish to achieve in this first meeting
You want to gain agreement on what the outcome of this first meeting is going to be.
This is the point where you get the agenda out in the open. It can sound something like this:
‘Thanks for inviting me here, Mr Prospect. I’d like to first find out a few details about you and your needs and ascertain why those needs are so important to you. Then, I’d like to answer any questions you may have. Finally, if possible, I’d like to show you how we can help you. Does that sound good for you?’
You’re making it clear what you would like to achieve and setting the scene for further discussions.
Discover what the current situation is
Decision-makers will only want to talk to you if there’s a problem with their current situation, or opportunities for growth or changes in the future.
So, discovering what is happening at the moment is imperative if you are to see how you can assist in the future.
Clarify your understanding and create reasons for changing the current position
Make sure you’re aware of what should be happening, and the gap between where they are now and where they want to be.
This clarity is vital if you are to see the future through their eyes.
Be aware of how the prospect is viewing the future
Help them see the difference it would make, and identify thew results of these changes.
It’s important not to talk about your products at this point; only the results they will achieve.
Make sure these are the results they definitely want.
Build up the value of the results they want to achieve
People will do a lot to achieve results, but only if the rewards they get will be worth the time and money invested.
This is the time to discuss how those rewards will benefit them and their business.
The whole point of this stage is maximise the gains they will achieve so they are now concentrating on results rather than the pain of the price they will pay.
When absolutely clear on the achievements they are looking for, start to introduce solutions
You’ve now earned the right to discuss options they have to achieve the results they want.
Without this clarity, you haven’t built the value of the changes they will have to go through to achieve those results.
Offer options that the prospect can choose from
By making it the prospect’s choice, you don’t need to sell anything; they make the decision as to how to go forward.
That way, they don’t feel as if they are being sold to.
They are making decisions based on what was discussed earlier in the conversation.
Determine the next action to be taken
What happens next?
That is the next step you take in order to ascertain the progress that should be taken.
Is it another meeting to discuss with a mother decision-maker?
Is it a trial order?
Is it further meetings to flesh out the proposal and ensure the next steps are taken?
Whatever it is, ensure you agree the next steps in the process.
Confirm where you are after this first meet-up
Make sure that you both agree where you and what has been agreed.
If you need to discuss further options with your internal teams, say so.
If you need to find out further info, say so.
You have invested a lot of time in this first meeting, so ensure that the agreements in place will help you achieve your goals and will also help the decision-maker to be confident in the way forward.
There’s many ways to introduce the relationship between you and this new prospect; following the ten steps above will certainly help you on the journey to obtaining a new client.