I’ve seen the hard work you put in all day. I see you making calls, doing research, sending emails and making more calls. You put in this effort to produce selling meetings required throughout your sales process. You then prepare for your meetings and engage. May I ask, “Are you really prepared as well as you should be for each meeting you enter?”
Selling meetings are where decisions are influenced and made. In most cases it’s during these meetings where we have the greatest impact on the outcome of a sale. If selling meetings carry this much opportunity shouldn’t we ask ourselves, “Are we really prepared for our next meeting?”
When we’re new to a sales or management position we could be unconsciously ignorant of what to be prepared for. On the other hand if we’re experienced and have had success, we can become over confident or sloppy, causing us to lose our edge if we’re not well prepared. What I’m saying is this sales tip is for rookies and veterans. In the trade of carpentry the most experienced craftsmen have learned the importance of a simple practice, “Measure twice and cut once”. They have learned a second measuring, which is quick and easy will save them time and materials.
In the sales profession, measurements come in the form of meeting preparation. We work so hard to schedule time and meetings with potential customers. It only makes sense that we should prepare for our meetings in a way to ensure we don’t waste time or jeopardize profits. I’d like to introduce you to a sales meeting tape measure. Using five simple questions you can quickly measure your preparation a second time. In essence, prepare twice and meet once.
Your Five Question Sales Meeting Tape Measure
When a carpenter measures the second time they expect to have a confirmation of their first measurement. Most of the time they do and they confidently cut. These five questions can be used to help you with your first and or second meeting preparation. In other words you can use them to help you get started on your meeting preparation as well as a second review to ensure you have all your prep covered. In either case they should prepare you to be 100% confident you are ready to meet.
(Note: it’s okay to have an answer of nothing or no to any of these questions)
1. Do I have anything to confirm or verify?
After you have reviewed your notes from any past meetings or research, ask yourself if anything needs to be confirmed or verified. It’s best to ask these confirming questions at the beginning of a meeting, as it will help you stay on the best course for the remainder of your conversation.
2. What do I need to learn or understand during our meeting?
This is your core discovery question. You should have a list of items you always need to learn about but each situation is different. Have you prepared a list of areas you need to come away from your meeting with clear understanding?
3. What do I want the person I am meeting with to understand or learn?
Have you listed what you believe the other person needs to learn or understand before you leave the meeting? This could be anything from data, your value proposition, a little bit about you and so on.
4. What decision(s) will I present to my prospect or customer to consider?
During or at the end of every meeting, decisions are being made. Every sales conversation is nothing more than a series of decisions with the ultimate decision being to purchase or not to purchase. During this meeting what decision(s) will you want the prospect to make?
5. What decision will I make during this meeting?
When you are clear about what decisions you will make it helps you with questions 1-4. You will need information to help you make decisions and the previous questions help you gain information, including number 3. How people respond to what you teach them will impact your decisions. Here are some possible decisions. Will you decide to continue the process or stop? Will you decide to bring in your technical expert? Will you decide if you will need to slow things down or speed things up? Will you decide which other contacts will need a presentation? What decision(s) will you make?
These questions are not rocket science but neither is a tape measure. If a carpenter shows up at a job site without his tape measure he can be in for a tough day. Don’t let this happen to your sales meetings. Show up to your meetings having measured twice and meet once. You and your prospects will be glad that you did.
As with most sales communication tips, sales managers can use this same process as you prepare for your next sales meetings.