How do you prepare for sales meetings?
Good preparation isn’t just amassing information. To make your preparation as efficient and impactful as possible, you should have a purpose and a clear intent for all of it.
Each one of the prep steps below has a clear ‘why’, meaning, a built-in advantage for you. If you choose to embrace them, they will drive efficient preparation and get you the maximum impact!
Here’s a framework to consider.
I have an important meeting coming up. I am determined to succeed. I’m also busy, so I’m going to make sure that I get value out of my preparation time. I will base my preparation on the results I want to get.
I will prepare to:
Know My Client. I will take a critical look at their portfolio and any additional financial information they’ve shared with me, looking for ways to serve, not just what to sell. I will anticipate possible needs and craft questions that help to uncover a clear picture of where they’re at and where they want to be. I understand that this is a baseline of professionalism and credibility and therefore I will always include this step before my sales calls and meetings.
Know my client’s world and speak in their language. I will get online and research their company and the industry they work in. I will look in their trade magazines for challenges and trends they are grappling with. I will become familiar with basic terminology they use at work each day. I understand that the care I take here gives me the beginning of a competitive advantage.
Understand my client’s Field of Play. I will make it my business to get a broad understanding of their competition, their relative market share, and if I can, my client’s main competitive advantages and disadvantages. I will craft questions that are grounded in this research, understanding that the relevance of questions themselves position me as an expert advisor.
Engage. I know that the opening moments of any call or meeting determines how much focus and attention the client gives me, so I invest a little time in planning how to start strong. My goal is to capture their interest and make them feel engaged, respected and cared for.
Connect. I will spend a bit of my preparation time researching their personal interests. Where we have common ground, I will prepare to have fun swapping stories with them. Where we are really different, I will demonstrate genuine curiosity with questions that allow them to share their passions.
Uncover Opportunities. I will prepare a solid questioning strategy that ensures I generate meaningful conversation around their needs. I will prepare questions that will elicit both a broad and a deep understanding of their current situation and where they want to get to. I will prepare also to bring a flexible mindset to the meetings, knowing that I’ll need to stay present and follow the conversation where it leads.
Add Value. I will prepare to add value in three ways. First, by using intelligent questions to help them think critically and sort priorities. Second, by bringing insight through connecting what I’ve learned of their world with my expertise. And third, by recommending products and services that will help them achieve the outcomes they’re looking for.
Handle Objections. I will jot down notes on concerns and objections I anticipate they may have. I will put a bit of thinking time into not just the party-line rebuttal, but what that objection looks and feels like from the client’s perspective. Prior to the meeting, I will talk through answers to these objections so that I can respond with confidence, warmth and professionalism.
Manage emotions – mine and theirs. I understand that my emotional state matters. If I’m anxious about winning or losing business, my client will pick up on that and resist my help. I will prepare a positive mindset by trusting my prep and focusing wholeheartedly on service.
I will remind myself that clients are people, first. They care deeply about themselves, their loved ones and their businesses, and so are emotionally invested in their decisions. I will prepare to create a positive emotional experience for the client.
Instead of just gathering information, make each bit of preparation earn you dividends! When you link your prep directly to the experience you want to create in your sales meetings, your results will far outstrip what you’ve achieved thus far.
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Kira Callahan is an expert sales conversation coach serving the financial industry. Her private clients typically experience 30% – 100% increase in appointments and business booked. Click here to find out more about Kira.