6 SECRETS THAT WILL HELP YOU NAIL YOUR MEETINGS
As a salesperson, you will be plagued with the multitude of appointments, briefs, meetings and presentations to attend. So, not only do you need to up the wow factor during calls, you will need to do the same face to face with your client. There can be some comfort to hiding behind a phone but there is nothing to hide behind when you go to a meeting or brief. Here are some basic (but often forgotten) rules to abide by –
1. BE LATE:
Isn’t it surprising that people need to be reminded of this? I say “people” because the same basics of courtesy and rules in the business world applies to everyone, no matter the industry. Being late to a meeting will give the impression that you are unreliable and disorganised – statistics show that 48% of people lost respect for those that were late. Depending on what you are selling, it could hurt your image and reputation – imagine if you were there to sell a new luxury watch! It is also particularly embarrassing to have to fumble through an excuse for WHY you were late, especially if there is a large group present. Not to mention the fact that you are wasting everybody’s time by having to go through another round of introductions. What’s worse is that you would have gone through all this only to come out having missed out all the important details you were there for in the first place (KPIs, skill gaps, pain points, etc).
SOLUTION – Expect the unexpected. Always plan to take traffic, weather, parking issues and the like into account. Better late than never does not apply here.
2. TALK TOO MUCH
During a brief or meeting, important details are usually hashed out. This means that you will need to listen more than you speak to understand what needs to be done and what is expected of you. It also puts your client in a position of importance as you show that you are giving them your undivided attention when you listen rather than cut in. Nevertheless, this does not mean that you should not be asking questions. The most effective way of utilising the time you have with your client is to ensure you are asking the right questions. Intelligent and relevant questions are ones that build upon an unelaborated idea. Don’t ask something that has already been brought up, even if you paraphrase. While there is nothing wrong with clarifying unclear details, your client will not want to repeat themselves over and over again.
SOLUTION – Take notes and put a pin in the details you would like to come back to. Ask open-ended questions to further the conversation and open up new avenues that were previously unexplored.
3. OFFER TO DO SOMETHING FOR FREE
In the midst of a brief or meeting, it might be tempting to offer up solutions to every single pain point mentioned throughout. Sometimes, clients may imply that a service or product should be free. Sometimes, they ask flat out –
- “It’s going to be an excellent addition to your portfolio.”
- “We’re a startup.”
- “There’s a lot of future work.”
However, it is important to note what services should be given for free and what can be done as an added, chargeable service. If this happens with first-time or new clients, you are setting a precedent for future work with them and this will lead them to expect more free products or services. You will also need to avoid lowering your value and market rate as this might negatively affect your dealings with other potential clients. Imagine if you offer a free product or service to Client A, they then tell Client B, who then tell Client C – how much will you lose out from this?
Leave the discounts for later, once your relationship has solidified.
SOLUTION – Draw up a detailed project estimate. This will be based on the breakdown of products or services to be rendered, costs of each product or service as well as completion time (if this is related). In doing so, you will be able to avoid any miscommunication between yourself and the client and you will protect your value.
1. DOUBLE CHECK
First of all, reconfirm your meeting location. A few days before the meeting, ensure that there are no changes to location, timing or even date. You don’t want to turn up to a meeting that has changed location or isn’t even on that day.
Utilise LinkedIn to see what the company is like through its page or its employees’ profiles. In doing so, you will be able to understand the direction the company has gone through in the past and is going in through now. From there, you will be able to craft your pitch, anticipate possible scenarios, and prepare some questions.
3. BE AT YOUR BEST
Get enough sleep the night before. Pulling all-nighters will only leave you unfocused, short-fused and unproductive. You will not be able to absorb any information from your client, much less formulate effective counter objections. This is supported by findings that show that people that are sleep deprived have an error margin of between 20 – 33% compared to people with enough sleep (12-15%).
4. WATCH YOUR BODY LANGUAGE
Other than your words, your body is constantly conveying messages. Shifty eyes display nervousness and uncertainty, finger drumming shows impatience and glazed eyes are obvious signs of a wandering mind. In the same way that you can convey how you feel through your body language, you can control how you portray yourself. Sit straight, maintain eye contact, don’t cross your arms and keep your hands still. If you feel like you need to psyche yourself up before the brief, stand with your feet apart and your hands on your hips (Wonder Woman style) for a minute or two before the brief.
Use the downtime before and after the meeting or pitch to mingle and network with the people present. Ask for name cards from everyone, be it the stakeholders, decision-makers or the salespeople. If they don’t have name cards on them, ask them for their digital name card (QR code activated) or simply give them a missed call. If you’re in the same room as your competitors, approach them too. Strike up a conversation with them and who knows, you might meet potential partners or just learn what you’re up against.
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