How to Make Your First Meeting a Success

Posted on by Kim Gross | No Comments »

You made your cold calls and you left countless voicemails. Perhaps a few people even hung up on you.  The good news is that you finally got your first appointment with a prospect!

Now it’s time to make that initial meeting count and move them forward in the sales process.  For most sales reps, this is where the instinct to start overselling starts and the meeting is over almost as quickly as it started.

That initial meeting is all about the prospect.  Before we can even begin to sell them on a solution that may benefit their company or organization, we need to have a full understanding of their current business challenges and what their priorities are for the upcoming quarter(s).  However, prospects normally won’t volunteer this information to you.  Often, they keep this information to themselves, as they don’t want to admit there is an issue or they don’t want to be “sold” anything.

Solid meeting preparation is key to ensuring that your initial meeting is productive and generates a qualified next step.  Here are some things you can do today to prepare for that initial meeting:

  1. Have a clear understanding of your prospect’s industry.  What are the key challenges they are facing?  What challenges do you have a solution for?
  2. Generate open ended questions that give your prospect the opportunity to explain their current business model and challenges they may be facing.
  3. Once you ask a question, give your prospect time to respond.  It is critical to let your prospect vocalize the business challenges they are facing so they can take ownership of the challenge.  This helps to create some urgency in coming up with a solution to fix the problem.
  4. Once the prospect establishes a clear set of problems and the pain is evident you are now at a point where you can begin discussing how your organization can help them overcome their challenges.

Proper meeting planning is key to a successful first appointment.  Make sure that you spend the time getting to know their industry and specific business model before you ever walk through their front door.

If you are interested in learning more about how to get your customers talking about their challenges attend our webinar later this month: “Effective Needs Analysis Questions for the Higher Education Fundraising Market“, September 30th at 3:00pm Eastern Daylight Time. While this webinar specifically focuses on higher education, the principles reviewed can apply to any market.

PODi members interested in learning more sales best practices can view recordings of Kim Gross’ webinars and sample talk tracks in the Zenarate platform. Kim also offers sales coaching services for PODi members.

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