How to make the most of your sales meetings and avoid the most toxic pitfalls.
Over the years we’ve spent selling, and being sold to, we’ve come across every sales trick imaginable. We’ve also experienced our fair share of sales meetings gone wrong.
Sales teams put a lot of pressure on themselves to close as many deals as possible, and can more often than not, lose focus on the quality of their sales pitches. The result is that the experience of the customer or prospect is often a negative one and all that valuable time and money has gone down the drain.
So, we’ve pulled together 4 toxic sales habits to avoid at all costs:
- Talking at length about your own company and how great it is.
- Talking about nothing but the product or service, without knowing whether the client actually needs it in the first place.
- Filling silences with needless chatter.
- Not listening to the customer or asking enough questions.
Any of these sound familiar?
They seem obvious to avoid, so why do they still happen?
The answer? Lack of planning and objective setting. Busy salespeople aren’t always the most successful, those who spend the time at the planning stage are.
So how do you go about avoiding these 4 pitfalls? Here are your workarounds to make sure you’re making the most of every sales meeting.
1. Set key objectives
Whether a meeting or a call, every interaction you have with a prospect should be aimed at moving the sales deal forward. Before you make the call, go to the meeting or even send the email, make sure you have an objective in mind. Can you get an introduction to other influential people in the business? Do you fully understand the needs of the prospect? Does the prospect fully understand the benefits of your services? Have you identified the parameters of the deal yet?
2. Plan the opening dialogue
Allow the focus to be on the customer, not you.
Too many sales presentations start off with descriptions of how good the vendor or product is. The last thing you want to do is send the prospect to sleep in the first 5-10mins of the meeting by boosting and talking about nothing but yourself.
Ask questions about the prospect’s business and aim to learn as much as you can about them in that meeting. What do they need? Where are they now and where do they want to be? How are they measuring the success of the project? Who is involved? What are they expecting from the project?
Establish an open conversation with the prospect, let them know that you actually care about their needs. Once you have gained their trust, and you understand more about their business, you can better communicate your value to them.
3. Plan questions that challenge the prospect
Start with the end in mind. Get prospects to identify the problems they have and work through them by asking leading questions. If the prospect can articulate the problems and see the solution, you can position yourself as a benefit, the solution to their problem and not just a product salesperson.
4. Never stop learning
A notebook is a more powerful tool in a sales meeting than a flashy PowerPoint. The more you can learn about your prospects, the more you can demonstrate the value you can provide for them. Ask questions, be genuinely interested in their story, listen to what they have to say and provide and the solution they will actually benefit from.
Adopt a sales system and process that allows your sales team, even if it’s just you, to thrive at every meeting. Our favorite tried and tested sales process is SCOTSMAN. This provides you with a step by step guide to preparing for and carrying out your sales meetings.
Want to know more about SCOTSMAN? Head over to this blog to find out more.