Last week I wrote a blog about sales and how it entails more
than just cold calls and emails these days. Sales can be nerve-wracking. Some
might think sales is the end-all-be-all of business. If a potential client
says, “No,” does that mean there will be no more progress? A lot of preparation
and research goes into a sales meeting; be it a cold call, email or a formal
introduction. To break it down, we have 7 basic steps we follow to ensure a
successful sales meeting.
1. Research the
Account and/or Company
first place to look is their website. What kind of image do they present? Does
it showcase bios of each staff member accompanied by a photo? Get a feel for
the general atmosphere of the company to which you will be presenting.Next, research its current list of
products or services. What do they hope to achieve in their industry? Ask
yourself, do they fit your product/service customer profile and sales cycle
model? Some potential customers do not.Also, check their social media
accounts. Many companies use social media to generate awareness and promote new
products or deals such as: happy hour specials posted on Twitter, photos of people
at the YMCA on Facebook, and useful infographics on Pinterest. Hashtags are
also important to research. What might they say about industry trends?Another thing to do is google them
for press releases, blogs, PowerPoints or videos if they have any. Learning
their needs, goals, industry trends, as well as, their typical sales cycle will
help showcase why they NEED you.
2. Research Their
absolutely cannot go into a sales meeting without knowing the company’s
competition. You need to know what they are up against. What does their
competition have that they don’t? What do they have that their competition
doesn’t? Same rules apply as above.
Check their websites, their social media accounts and press releases.
3. Research the
important as researching the company and industry trends is the person with
whom you will be speaking. Their LinkedIn can provide valuable information in
regards to their area of expertise. Are they in marketing or is it the CEO? And
while this has been repeated, it certainly is just as valuable- research their
social media accounts. You never know if you have a friend or two in common or
share the same interests. If you have a face-to-face meeting you will
understand their demeanor better and know when it is appropriate to make small
4. Write down
Questions- As well As Answers
Ask open-ended questions for
your decision-maker to think about- who, what, when, where, why, etc. He or she
might not have definite answers right away, but thinking about the
possibilities will support your presentation- why it is they need your product
or service so badly. At the
same time, come up with questions they might ask you. This will provide most
useful so you don’t repeat yourself, or worse, get stumped. You will be better
prepared if you can think of an answer to almost every question thrown at you.
5. Have an Objective
Rarely does a salesman ever
walk away from a meeting with a definite, “Yes”, and a signed contract.
However, setting an objective will help you better prepare your speech and any
questions you ask them. Maybe you want to come out of it with a follow up, send
over a package or demo, or move from a cold call to a formal meeting. You might
not know what their sales cycle is like, so setting smaller goals will prove to
be more efficient and will give you and the decision-maker less pressure to
come to a conclusion so fast.
6. Prepare all
simple. Don’t forget to bring your materials! PowerPoints, Products, Documents,
Contracts, whatever it may be. Do Not Forget Them. Can you imagine? All that
hard work and preparation thrown out the window because you forgot the most
important part of your presentation. “Sorry,
I forgot to pack that all-in-one remote for you to test”. You have just
embarrassed your company.
7. Clean Up Your
might this be on the list? The decision maker you are researching is most
undoubtedly going to research you and your company. So, clean up your Facebook,
delete those embarrassing tweets and update your LinkedIn. You represent your
company and no one is going to do business with a frat star.
These are the quintessential steps in order to prepare for your big sales meeting. While preparing ahead of time you need to ask yourself, “Will our product or service help the decision maker, end users and team members?” and “How the company will benefit”? Additionally, understand if the customer fits your products or service customer profile and sales cycle model. Some customers do not. Research the company, decision-maker and competition. Have questions and answers prepared. Create small objectives or a timeline, remember not to forget to bring your materials, and clean up your online profile. Last but not least, go in with an open mind, a firm handshake and a smile.