Meetings are the favorite part of the process for most salespeople. A lot of time, effort (and in some cases money) is spent trying to get the prospect to meet with you.
Yet, meetings don’t always go the way you envisage them to and have their own set of challenges.
For example, many salespeople:
- do minimal research on their prospect’s business and people
- provide no structure
- ask basic qualifying questions
- set unclear expectations from what they want to achieve
- rarely take any notes
- dive straight into a pre-canned sales pitch that they’ve done countless times before
It’s not just the salespeople who are unprepared either. The prospect will usually attend the meeting with:
- little or no preparation done
- not include all the relevant decision makers
- partial or no transparency to their needs
- limited focus
- a desire to rush through the meeting as quickly as possible
As a salesperson, you cannot control these aspects but can prepare a better structure to put you in the best possible situation for a successful outcome.
Therefore, a shared agenda can make your sales meetings more productive. So, how do you create one?
Step 1: Develop a checklist
By developing a checklist, you’ll significantly reduce error rates. Your checklist should include your client’s business focus, their competitors and any recent news and events that are relevant to use as talking points. You should also research their job roles/history by checking out LinkedIn profiles, develop a list of specific questions to ask and be armed with a host of applicable use cases. Your checklist should be completed by making a note of potential objections, creating your agenda and setting clear goals from what you want to achieve.
You can also use your checklist to create a template for taking notes in a structured way during your sales meeting.
Step 2: That all important agenda
You should always use a shared agenda to confirm and control your sales meetings. Your agenda should include six points – three which are yours and three which are left open for the prospect to fill in.
- Prospect’s business objectives
- Specifics about their initiatives
- Customized solution to their needs
Step 3: Sharing your agenda
A day before your meeting you should share your agenda with the prospect and remind them the time of the meeting. You should also ask them for their feedback. This shows the client that you’re prepared for your meeting and considerably reduces cancellation rates.
If your prospect responds and completes the three empty bullet points with what they want to discuss, you know you’re in for a good sales meeting.
Step 4: Controlling the meeting
Regardless of whether your prospect has completed the agenda, you should use it at the start of your sales meeting to control the flow of conversation and not go off topic. If they do go off topic, you’ll always have something to get their focus back.
A good example is when you have a set mental agenda of what you want to talk about but the prospect asks you a random question after five minutes that sends you down a rabbit hole for almost an hour, leaving you with a few minutes left to talk about what you wanted to discuss originally. This scenario isn’t productive for you or your prospect.
Without a shared agenda, the prospect is in control of your meeting. With a shared agenda, you have a chance to be in the driving seat.