One of the simplest (and quickest) ways that a salesperson can fail is by not preparing themselves beforehand for a sales meeting. It is crucial, not just to portray the right behaviour and wear the right attire, but also to have enough knowledge about the person you are about to have a meeting with. This is important because you don’t want the listener feeling like you don’t know much about them. You need to make it seem like you are well aware of the company and its requirements.
Let’s see how you can be best prepared for a sales meeting:
Be prepared well in advance.
It’s never wise to leave things till the last minute; printers have a way of breaking down when you least want them to. On that note, always ensure you have plenty of paper, cartridges and printed material in stock (good policy at any time). In other words, be fully stocked!
Provision of catalogues, marketing material or corporate profiles.
These need to be professionally presented and not just run off the photocopier. If the meeting is going to be with 5 people, have 7 copies. One for the 5, one for you, and a spare. Just in case perhaps the CEO decides to walk in unannounced. So for this reason you need to ascertain who (and how many) will be present.
Do your research on the company.
This should be done so that you know exactly who your audience is. Google is an excellent tool and of course by thoroughly studying their website, you will learn a lot about them. Review the LinkedIn profiles of the head people in the meet (another reason to know the names of who will be in the meeting) so you know who you are talking to, what their background is, and that you are not walking in ‘blind’. It is necessary that you have a fair amount of knowledge about the people you are going to talk to.
Mention something like “So Jack, you’ll know when you were with ABC Company, that they had a system of XXXX, we will implement a version of that here in that we will XXXXXX”. That person will feel important that you bothered to check them out and generally the group (or that person) will be impressed that you took the time to do your research, or alternatively know their industry well. This showcases that you have done thorough research and also promotes the fact that you are professional.
Demonstrate your level of expertise, but be careful not to be overly bragging.
A great way of overcoming this is to have sent or given to them prior an outline of yourself, the company and some testimonials. This can be a one page A4 PDF. It should not be more than 2 pages as otherwise it won’t get read. Keep it short and informative, but make sure to include all the necessary factors, so that your clients don’t miss out on important information.
Be prepared with questions to ask, and of course, know your product inside and out.
Be prepared to handle the usual objections with confidence, but respect the objection and don’t diminish it. Naturally, you will be receiving questions regarding your product and some might even criticize it. Learn to take the criticism lightly and in a positive manner, and answer all questions with confidence. No one would wish to buy a product from someone who isn’t well-informed about their own product.
Have a sales process.
You should know well in advance what will happen during the sales meeting; what will you go over, the questions you’ll ask. You may well provide a sample, trial or show examples. Just be mindful that you need to be able to be flexible. There is nothing worse than a sales meeting where you are bored out of your brain, wish it was over and the sales person has not picked up on your body language. A good salesperson will read the signs and adjust accordingly.
Set the scene.
Walk into the meeting outlining what will happen and at the end of the meeting, outline what the next step should be, with their approval. Say things like, “So if it’s alright, I’ll give you a few days to discuss what we’ve gone through and then I’ll call XXXX say on Friday morning. Would that be ok?” This way they can acknowledge that you are willing to give them their time for discussions.
Practice the Purpose, Benefit, and Check.
At the beginning, you need to first state the purpose, then the benefits of your product that everyone in the room is hoping to receive and finally check if everyone is in agreement, and then proceed with the rest of the presentation. Don’t jump straight in as you may leave them hanging by not addressing precisely what they are looking for.
If you promise to send something or follow up on a certain date, be sure to put that entry in your diary straight after and be sure to implement action! Needless to say, follow up is as critical as the meeting and the meeting preparation.
Keeping these steps in mind before heading for a sales meeting can really help. Although they seem simple and straightforward, being prepared, practiced and organised will help you on the road to a great sales meeting.
I do business coaching to get you ahead of the game. Call me on 0411 622 666.