Wherever you are in the sales cycle, each sales call or client meeting with a potential client is an opportunity to qualify a deal and move it forward. And knowing how difficult it can be to organize a meeting with a potential client and bring in your precious internal resource(s) that everyone wants a piece of, you want to maximize everyone’s time. You could be going into a first meeting with a subject matter expert, or you might have already spent time and resources to qualify a deal and demonstrated how your solution might meet their key objectives.
So why would you only prepare for the next call or meeting just ten or thirty minutes before walking through the door?
These last-minute briefings usually involve the lead sales person conducting a quick download session to his or her selling team in an effort to clue them into details of a client they have scarcely heard of before.
More often than not, this leads to disaster: not knowing the objective of the meeting, inconsistent messages, flimsy responses to objections, sloppy materials, and the wrong people addressing the wrong questions – and worse, bad impressions and lost opportunities.
Team-based, role selling demands greater orchestration among your internal resources and the right amount of preparation. That means you’ll likely need different approaches, solutions and messages for each stakeholder on the buyer side, and the right people on your team working together to provide these.
Take the time to get it right:
- Agree on the outcome of the meeting, and what are you trying to achieve to move the deal forward both from your perspective and the buyer’s perspective. The only way you can know if you had a good meeting is to have achieved the goal of the meeting.
- Discuss what role each of you should play. For example: Who is the head spokesperson? Who will handle technical questions? Who will discuss support services?
- Prepare open-ended questions. Now that you have quality time with the prospect, utilize the time wisely to fill in missing information needed to move the opportunity forward.
- Anticipate and discuss client questions and sales objections and how you will address them. Also, decide who will answer what types of questions.
- And, if you are doing any type of presentation,
- Get your materials in order. Make sure your slide deck is ready and everyone on the team has a chance to review the slides. And for pete’s sake, make sure all the slides match.
- Do a dry run. As a team, rehearse the whole presentation, and ask team members to give feedback and ask the tough questions as if they are the client.
We can learn a lot from public relations professionals. PR people are sticklers about preparing for press interactions. If you knew everything you said in a meeting could be printed in tomorrow’s newspaper (or broadcast in tonight’s cable news cycle), wouldn’t you prepare thoroughly?
Assembling a team of resources costs time and money; so it’s important to utilize everyone involved to the maximum and ensure everyone is contributing to the sale. The outcomes of client meetings will be much more powerful, because collectively, you’ll be able to control the meeting’s results and drive the deal forward. Also, the more eyes and ears involved, the more information each of you can bring back from the meeting.