How many sales meetings have you or your sales people attended where, at the end, the client is in a position to make a good decision? The answer to this question largely depends on how well the sales meetings were planned.
The purpose of a meeting plan is to help us prepare for, and execute, client interactions. The best vending and OCS owners/salespeople I have worked with over the years have only confirmed my belief that those who sell at “peak performance” plan for every significant client phone call or meeting.
They ask the client to decide something. They cultivate a no-pressure environment by providing the client options, including the option to say “no.” They are cognizant of the fact that the client’s time and their time is valuable.
They meet with the right people. They plan for possible client objections, questions, and have back-up data to prove their statements and claims. They set clear expectations for the meeting.
most sales people need to improve
I am constantly amazed by the lack of preparation by salespeople. Recently, I had a meeting with a representative from my mortgage bank to discuss refinancing. One of the first things he said to me was, “Great…why don’t you come in and we can chat.” Holding back the “yeah, I’ll be right over,” I outlined my current situation, where I wanted to be in the future, and asked him to present me some possible options when we met.
When we met (at the place of my choice) he and a co-worker were late. Traffic in the area can be a problem at times, but I would at least expect a phone call before the start of the scheduled time to let me know. Despite not having any options ready for me to discuss, his co-worker started to talk about investing in mutual funds. You can imagine how that meeting ended!
Maybe it’s because I have been in sales for many years, but I really enjoy talking to those who are well prepared, value my time and provide insight, advice and options. When in the market for something that requires a salesperson, I always buy from this type of person.
Do you do the same? How about your customers and prospects – how many of them have invested in your vending or OCS because your salesperson treated them accordingly?
Back in 2005, a salesperson I highly respected at the time – and still do – brought a sales methodology called “Helping Clients Succeed” to my attention. It was developed by Mahan Khalsa. After reading this book, I was inspired enough to put the methodology into practice. The reason: it is a down-to-earth approach to sales and matched closely my style of selling.
I am not one of those sales people that believe “my sales system is the best.” But I do believe that sales people should use a system, be it one developed themselves or one of the many choices available today.
In the 12 years I spent in the vending and OCS industry, I met many good sales professionals. The number of great sales professionals is a lot fewer. The difference? The latter always worked to be the best at what they did and they always followed a sales methodology.
Do you have a methodology?
The cornerstone of any good sales methodology is a meeting plan or call plan. The purpose of this article is to provide you with one option for a meeting plan so that by the end you can decide if it makes sense to use it in your upcoming meetings and calls. It is a tool we use to coach thousands of sales people at Fortune 500 companies and one I have personally experienced as game changing in my own sales and in others’.
Our meeting plan is divided into two main components, prepare and execute.
1) Prepare. This includes:
- End In Mind (EIM): At the end of the meeting, what do you want them to say, do or decide? What will you say to introduce your EIM?
- Key Beliefs: What key beliefs, intellectually and emotionally, must the client resolve to agree with the EIM?
- Proof/Action: What will we do to address and satisfy the key beliefs?
- Questions: Determine the questions we want to ask and how we will ask them. What will the client likely ask? How will we respond?
- Yellow Lights: What are likely stalls, doubts, concerns or objections?
- Next Steps: What next steps might we suggest to the client at the end of the meeting?
- Agenda: What is the agenda/critical path for the meeting? Can we get buy-in before the meeting?