Clarify your purpose and you will close more sales (E)
As you know, getting a meeting with a future customer can be quite challenging. It most often takes a number interactions with your future customer, either by phone, email or some kind of social media or networking process, to secure a meeting. To compound things, you have invested time to research your prospect and you have even sent them a teaser with valuable industry specific data that they will find useful.
After going to all this trouble, “How should you show up”?
You most certainly do not want to show up without a clearly defined purpose and a very clear outline of exactly what you would like to achieve during the meeting.
The more profound the first impression you make – the better
Create a Written Agenda
A well prepared and thought through agenda does two things:
- It forces you to think about the purpose of the visit and forces you to prepare properly
- On receipt your future customer appreciates the fact that you are prepared and sees that you are not there to waste their time.
The more insightful and relevant your agenda is, the more effective it will be.
The agenda should look to address the following:
- It should address any questions you may have that would allow you to completely understand your future customers needs, expectations and values.
- It should address any topics or concerns you may have already discovered your future customer may have.
- The agenda should address the purpose of the visit and show your commitment to “HELP”
- The agenda must be as specific as possible
- The agenda should be engaging and energising
- The agenda should be functional and show that you have prepared for the meeting
Creating your agenda
It is really easy to create a generic agenda, which is not tailored to suite, a specific meeting or customer. Although it is better to have a generic agenda, than no agenda at all, remember that you have invested so much into just getting the meeting in the first place. Should you not try to make the best impression possible during any sales meeting? Is it not worth investing sufficient time into creating a powerful, tailored agenda that will have a profound and positive impact on your future customer?
A typical generic agenda might look something like this:
- Meet the team
- Feedback from the research we conducted
- Outline of the projects objectives
- What we can do for you?
- Your Investment
- Handling of any questions you may have
- Next steps
Although using an agenda like this is better than no agenda at all, you have already done the really hard work of securing the meeting, with the right decision maker. Is it not wise to invest some time into personalizing the agenda, so that you will really stand out? The more energising and specific your agenda is, the better.
- Make sure that your agenda is not too broad to really inform your future customer, as to the purpose and outcome you want to achieve during the meeting.
- Make sure that your agenda is so specific that you can control the topics under discussion and guide your future customer to see how your value proposition is aligned with their needs, expectations and values.
Laser Focus your agenda
Everyone, including your future customers is strapped for time. The more laser focused your agenda can be, the more productive all your sales encounters will be. If you want to leave any sales meeting with a signed contract and I am sure that you do. Then your discussion needs to be laser focused on the real issues – not focused on small talk or on vague concepts.
To ensure that your agenda is effective – Create the agenda topics as questions.
When you change from statements to questions you change what is into possibility. In other words a statement is just a fact. Whereas when it is posed as a question, the topic remains open to interpretation and allows for discussion and engagement.
Let’s take the above agenda and change the statements into questions as shown below:
- Intro to the team
- Questions to guide discussion:
- What specific industry trends have you encountered that will help to shed light on the performance analysis?
- What different testing options do you believe would best suite your organisation?
- Research results
- How will the findings as listed in paragraph one suite your current circumstances?
- What are the implications of finding 2 on your bottom line?
- How will these findings positively affect your organization?
- Project Objectives
- How can we utilize the research findings to optimize performance on your plant?
- What maintenance intervals will best suite your organization?
- What timeframe best suites you?
- Next Steps
- When does your current contract end?
- How do we begin to roll out the new project?
As you can see a laser focused agenda, which is compiled using questions is far easier to follow and it also allows all attendees, who receive the agenda prior to the meeting to prepare properly.
A focused agenda does the following:
- All attendees can prepare properly prior to the meeting
- Everyone immediately knows the exact points of discussion and any input they need to offer.
- A focused agenda helps you to lead a very productive conversation
- The discussion is focused and as such it is far easier to achieve a favorable outcome after the meeting
- It is far easier for your future customers to reach a decision
- The focused agenda drives the discussion and you help to create a buying atmosphere
- Your future customer appreciates that you are prepared and starts to trust you a lot sooner
- A laser-focused agenda, is a powerful foundation for creating a long term partnership
My experience has shown me that a focused and well-prepared agenda is one of the most powerful sales tools, available, to support you to close more sales. It helps your future customers appreciate your product and or service and shows them that they can trust you with the most valuable possession – namely their time.