Top Ten Lessons To Guarantee Very Effective Sales Meetings

[I:]Plenty of sales people waste time with individuals that are not empowered to decide on or purchase the goods and services they sell. Meeting with the most suitable senior executives is one of the best ways to accelerate your time to success with all your customers. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that each one of these meetings are worthwhile for the executives you meet with.

If you demonstrate that you can help that person/company in one way or another, you will have a much greater chance to quickly identify and close new sales opportunities. Conversely, if your meeting is a waste of time for that executive, you will prolong and potentially destroy any sales opportunities you had, and it will likely ruin your chances for a follow up meeting. Here are the top 10 steps you should complete before, during, and after your meetings to ensure they are both productive and valuable for your customers:

Know the executive(s) with whom you are meeting. With a little bit of research, you can typically find out a lot of important information about your customer and should understand where they’ve worked before, the areas of success they’ve enjoyed, special interests they may have, groups they belong to, and other common contacts they may have with you or others in your company.

Understand their role and responsibilities. The best way to get this information is to ask others you know in their department/division, or at a minimum, search the website for executive profiles, presentations they may have done, or articles they’ve written. Knowing this will enable you to build credibility by referencing it during your meeting, and ultimately help you determine how your products would map to their interests and initiatives.

Schedule the right resources to join you and make certain they are briefed and prepared before hand. Make sure that anyone you bring is well aware of the above mentioned items as well as the agenda including their role and any of the topics they are to cover. Role play in advance of the meeting to be certain everybody knows who, when, and exactly how they are expected to participate.

Share your agenda with your customer before hand and confirm who else will attend. By doing so, you can be sure that the topics you want to cover are relevant while soliciting input for other areas or topics they may be interested in. This simple step gives you the chance to change course if your initial agenda missed the mark, and enable you to reach out to any other executives you were not aware were asked to join.

Prepare an executive summary presentation or discussion document to follow during your meeting. Don’t just wing it. Having a professional looking document or presentation to review will demonstrate that you have invested time preparing, will help guide your discussion to be sure all important points are covered, and will prove that you care and value your customer’s time.

Complete proper introductions. Always make sure that everyone introduces themselves, and ask them to describe their role and responsibilities, and convey any particular areas they would like to cover and what they need to get out of the meeting. Be sure you also briefly describe what if any relationship exists, and how and where both organizations have worked together previously. This is usually a easy way to break the ice and build instant credibility for you and also your company. Don’t assume the folks in the room have an understanding of any prior relationships or successes.

Review the agenda items up front and confirm the amount of time you have for the meeting. Ask your customer to prioritize your topics and determine any others that need to be covered before jumping in. This ensures you review the most important items first, and less important ones last or not at all if you run out of time.

Ask open ended, relevant questions, and listen carefully and take notes. Always make sure your valuable time isn’t wasted with you or your team doing the majority of the talking. The simplest way to identify new sales opportunities is to understand your clients challenges and the way your products and solutions may help them. Don’t make the mistake of jumping into a hard core sales pitch before you have had a chance to clearly identify the value add you can actually provide. Periodically pause throughout the meeting and ask your customer if the content being reviewed is important and is also resonating with them. If it’s not, switch onto another more important subject.

Before the meeting ends, recap the items covered and determine next steps. Set aside time to briefly review and prioritize what you covered along with any action items that were agreed to. You should get concurrence for follow up meetings, and determine the focus areas along with any other individuals that should participate. Solicit feedback from all attendees to determine on the spot if they received the value they expected and covered the topics they were most interested in. Ask for guidance on how you can improve the next time.

Deliver what you promised. Subsequent to the meeting, it’s critical that you follow through on what you said you’d do. Send a thank you note to all that attended and document the action items and deliver any information you promised. The additional value you can add begins once the meeting ends. You should also call each of the customers that attended to receive their feedback. Very often in an open forum, individuals will not chime in during the meeting and might have valuable information to mention in a private setting.

By completing these 10 steps, you will be guaranteed to have successful executive sales meetings, and prove to your customers that you are a valuable and credible resource for them. Visit here to understand more about how to Improve Your Sales Meetings as well as learning about The Most Effective Ways To Increase Your Sales.

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