No one likes a meeting that rambles on, has no plan, no goals and no respect for other people’s time. Making every moment count in a meeting is more than just luck. Getting prepared and delivering a relevant agenda with timely feedback and action points is essential to improve your sales leads.
So let’s get organized! Here are 18 steps to keep you on track and make your meetings more efficient and more productive:
Confirm the meeting details with your client. Namely the time, date and location.
Confirm the agenda. This could be a product or particular challenge that your prospective client has already told you about. If you don’t know the agenda for your meeting you are not going to be well informed and your meeting will not be focussed.
You may want to drill further into your client’s particular ‘challenge’. Asking for additional information in advance of the meeting will show that you want to create a unique response to their issues. This will add value to your presentation before it begins.
Research, research, research. This includes the people you will be meeting, the company they work for and the area of business they operate in. The more you can demonstrate that you know about their field, the more weight your opinion and advice will carry when explaining the features and benefits of your product. Plus, knowing who the decision makers are in your meeting will help you focus on issues they are most interested in.
Ask in advance for any technical equipment, or expect to bring everything you may need.
Prepare succinct, handout notes summarizing the meeting’s main topics and how your product addresses these challenges. This will show that you have a clear idea of the purpose of the meeting and the benefits you aim to have covered by the end. Plus, if all your technology fails you won’t be left flustered without anything to present.
Prepare and pack your meeting notes, handouts, etc. before the morning of your meeting.
Plan and arrive early to give you time to run through your agenda, refresh your knowledge of the company and the people you are there to meet.
Map it out. Let your clients know what you are going to talk about. Echo your meeting handout of topics with a sentence summary of each. It will demonstrate that you have a structure for the meeting, a purpose to each item on the agenda and that you have allocated time for free discussion and feedback. Having a timeframe for each topic will let your busy clients know how long they need to pay attention.
Keep on topic. If something comes up that could send you off in a different direction, note it and come back to it later. You don’t want to ramble on about a minute detail that may not be of interest to 90% of the room. You can acknowledge the question and be clear that you will come back to the issue at the end of the session or to the person individually if it doesn’t relate to the meeting’s agenda.
Don’t lecture – discuss. Even if you have a presentation complete with laser show and smoke machine, someone is likely to glaze over. Keep people engaged by asking relevant questions and for their opinions. Be careful to ensure that questions are open enough to get more than a single word reply, but focussed enough to keep on topic.
Reiterate the topics covered, points raised and – most importantly – the features and benefits of your product.
Ensure that at the end of the meeting you agree on and set action points with timelines. These may be responses to questions asked that you didn’t have a full response for or a date for a follow up meeting. Action points will aid the continuation of the sales conversation ad escalation towards a purchase.
Review your meeting. Clarify the scribbles you made during the meeting into full and understandable sentences while it is still fresh in your mind. This includes updating CRM records remotely if possible.
Follow up your meeting with a written round up and attach any documents used in the meeting to help refresh the client’s memory. These can also be shared with their internal teams if people were unable to make the original session.
Ask for feedback. Don’t wonder if you did OK. Don’t presume you were amazing and they just didn’t like the product – ask them.
If you ask for feedback make sure you act on it.
If you have action points to complete make sure you add these to your work calendar to avoid anything being missed.
Quick check sheet:
- Pre Confirm the meeting and agenda
- Pre Prepare your notes/equipment/company research
- During Be clear about your agenda & stick to it
- During Agree action points before leaving your client
- Post Update your CRM
- Post Deliver on action points
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