Bob was exhausted after seeing over 15 accounts in the past week. He had talked about football, politics, family and even some industry news in order to get the client engaged in a conversation that might give him an opening to pitch his latest and greatest widget. He was convinced that his skills at relationship building would pay off big time when all his new "friends" decided to buy something. When his boss asked how his activity could be so high, yet his results so mediocre, all Bob could say was "Yes, but they really like me!"
It's all too easy to spend a lot of time making "Howdy" calls with people you know and that are willing to talk about anything but business. Professional visitors like Bob don't have a plan to move the sales process forward because they are afraid they might lose a friend that could one day turn into an order. Worse yet, many of Bob's clients are probably too polite to tell him that they don't have time for idle chatter, and that they really wish that he not call on them anymore. Bob could get more production out of every call if he learns some ways to define his objectives and outcomes for every conversation and meeting. Even if he doesn't get an order, he would find his results would improve dramatically if he could just make a "sale of the moment" on every call.
Obviously, there are times when admin or service calls are warranted, but here are just a few ideas to "Name the Meeting" when the objective is to get a sales process going. Below is a mix of our standard meeting names and some expanded ones that still fall into our in the ways, updates and discovery type meetings:
Fact Finding - This is a qualification visit; a discovery meeting where we are looking for Problems/Priorities, Authority, Investment issues and Timeline. Does this account qualify for our time?
Decision - All the decision makers will be in the room with the understanding that at the end of the meeting they will trade your presentation/demo/proposal for a decision.
Fortify - Purpose of the meeting is to fortify our relationship with an existing customer. Preparing them for competition assault. Investing time to get to know upper management and/or support people in case our direct contact leaves.
What do I have to do to lose you? - This would be with existing customers to recommit them to continue their business.
Close the Conversation - The best way to get a stalled deal moving is to gently try to take it away by offering to never, ever bring it up again.
Alignment - Need to make sure we are on the same page. Prospect/Customer is saying one thing but doing another. Assumption is the mother of all mess-ups! The end result is clarification of expectations, agreement and understandings on any aspect of the sales process.
Face the Music - This is a bottom line visit! This is a meeting where the prospect/client is trying to either pull a fast one or take advantage at our expense. We will approach this meeting as an adult, not an angry child. We are calling them on their bad behavior. We will not be a victim. Resist the urge to prove yourself right.
Decision by Committee - Our proposal is being presented to a higher authority. We want to be the one making the presentation. Our fall back position is to do artificial decision making with our inside sales person by rehearsing their presentation. We also suggest being a fly on the wall by sitting outside the door and can be brought in as technical consultant to answer questions.
Let's make a deal - Prospect has committed to do business, but also wants to negotiate. This meeting needs to have the upfront agreement that the prospect is sold and we are just working out details. Never do anything unless we know the next step.
By the way, you might find these meetings go better if you find a way to gently tell the prospect ( or ask permission) the name of the meeting too, so that they have an expectation of where you are going together.
What are the names of the meetings you have most often, and what are the names of the meetings that are the most important? Can you think of a situation where NAMING THE MEETING would have helped in the meeting?
Final Thoughts for the Morning:
As a leader, you must consistently drive effective communication. Meetings must be deliberate and intentional - your organizational rhythm should value purpose over habit and effectiveness over efficiency. Chris Fussell
The majority of meetings should be discussions that lead to decisions. Patrick Lencioni
Your Top 3 Goals & Tactics for the Week
LAST WEEK: Update us on how things went last week with your stated Goals and GD Tactics.
THIS WEEK: Please share your Top 3 Goals for this week and the GD tactics you plan to deploy.
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