- How much time is spent in sales meetings?
- The number of sales closed in the first meeting
- 7 ways to prepare for a successful sales meeting
As sales people, we spend 19% of our time in sales meetings.
That’s one day per work week - dedicated to just meetings.
With this much time spent on meetings, we’re obviously closing deals left, right and center, right?
Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
Only 1 in 50 deals are closed upon the first meeting, according to research by Marketing Wizdom. This means that in order to close 10 deals on the first meeting, you need to fill your sales pipeline with at least 500 meetings!
Just sales meetings. Nothing else.
Worse still is the cost.
At the recent Zoomtopia conference, Roy Raanani, CEO of Chorus.ai, shared research after analyzing more than 3 billion business conversations.
What he found was that sales meetings cost you $100 per minute.
Meaning, a one hour sales meeting will cost $6,000.
That’s a lot of money, isn’t it?
This is why it becomes even more important that when you do get that sales meeting, you nail it!
So, how can you fully prepare for your next sales meeting?
Fear not. We’ve got you covered.
Seven ways to prepare for a sales meeting
In this blog post, we’ve listed seven ways to help you prepare for your next sales meeting.
1. Do your homework
Make sure to find time to get to know the company you’re planning to meet, understand their market and the individuals you’ll be meeting. Not only will this demonstrate your commitment to their cause, but it will also limit any risk of being caught off-guard.
A study by Forrester Research found that 70% of sales people are not prepared to answer questions from the buyer during a sales meeting, and that 77% do not fully understand the buyers’ issues.
To fully prepare for the sales meeting, remember to:
- Read the company website thoroughly and make sure that you understand their mission and objectives.
- Take a look at all recent company news, blog posts and articles
- Find out who will be representing the company at the sales meeting and search for their social media profile on LinkedIn in order to identify their position within the company, their interests, and background (a great way to connect on a more personal level could be to discuss a mutual connections on LinkedIn)
- Try to investigate where this company sits within their respective market, and how they are positioned in relation to their competitors.
Once you have collected this information, try not to overwhelm the prospective client with your new-found knowledge (no one likes a know-it-all). Use this research for when you are asked questions, rather than include it all in your pitch.
2. Review your pitch
First things first; you’ll want to ensure that you know the sales pitch inside and out.
Look at the pitch objectively, or ask a colleague or friend without previous knowledge to read through it), and remove any parts that don’t make sense. Pay close attention to your language throughout the pitch too: is it consistent? Is it easy to understand?
It’s common for pitches to become complicated, filled with clichés and buzzwords such as “forward thinking”, “dynamic” and “synergy” which may not hold any meaning for the prospective client.
If you’re unsure about what to add/ remove, here are some questions to help you:
- Does your pitch address all requirements and meet the needs of the potential client?
- Have you demonstrated that your company understands the industry?
- Is it clear why you should be chosen above all other candidates/ vendors?
- What questions might arise during the pitch?
3. Prepare your questions
Before the meeting, create a list of open-ended questions of your own to ask. Design your questions carefully in order to learn more about the company’s needs and requirements, and to demonstrate that you’ve spent time doing the research.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are five “safe” questions you could use:
- What kind of budget range do you have for this type of project?
- What would you like to see from a company like ours that you have not found to date?
- Who else, other than you of course, will be involved in or impacted by this decision?
- How can I help you do your job better?
- What is the next step and by when (here's where you can bring up Mutual Action Plans)?
One thing to take into account is that your questions may, in turn, prompt further questions from the other party. Consider whether the questions add real value to the conversation or increase the chance of complications.
4. Hold a “practice” meeting
No top performer or winning athlete would set foot on the stage or in the arena without a rehearsal and warm-up, and successful salespeople are no different.
Seven days prior to your sales meeting, hold a “practice” meeting with your colleagues to make sure that your sales pitch is clear and, if any colleagues are attending the meeting with you, that you are all on the same page.
Don’t leave this meeting until the last minute as you may find that more work needs to be done to your sales pitch based on their feedback, and giving yourself and your colleagues plenty of time will ensure that your work is not rushed or compromised.
5. Confirm meeting location
In the days leading up to the meeting, revisit the location, time and date. And if someone has booked the travel arrangements on your behalf, verify they are correct.
That may sound like common sense, but a survey conducted on lateness in the workplace found that 56% of all employees admitted to failing to attend meetings and other work-related events on time at least once a week.
In addition, 23% admitted that they performed badly in meetings following a late arrival, and 11% said poor time keeping resulted in the loss of a potential new client.
Arriving late can not only affect your performance in the meeting room, but it can also contribute to lost sales!
The main reasons for arriving late?
Traffic problems and public transport.
To avoid being late, use Google maps to plan out your journey to find the fastest direct route (or alternatively, use a mobile CRM). If the journey takes 25 minutes, leave at least 45 minutes before, allowing room for any delays. And if you do arrive early, you can use the time to have a quick run through of your pitch while waiting in the car.
6. Don’t skip sleep
Did you know that a ‘busy mind’ is the main cause of sleeplessness?
According to the Great British Sleep survey of more than 20,000 participants, thoughts such as worries about the following day are the main reason for sleepless nights. Not surprisingly, the survey also found that the worst side effect of poor sleep is daytime fatigue the following day, which means we are less likely to be productive.
In fact, compared to people who are well rested, poor sleepers are…
- 3x more likely to struggle to concentrate
- 2x likely to suffer from fatigue
- 2x likely to struggle to be productive
While looking the part is important, feeling the part is just as important. You will want to be both focused and alert. By being fully prepared for your sales meeting days in advance, you can eliminate the need for last minute all-nighters, which can severely impact your confidence, concentration level and delivery (as well as contribute to arriving late!).
7. Get motivated!
As the great author, speaker, and salesperson, "Zig" Ziglar once said:
At this point, your pitch is clear, you have arrived on time and you’re ready to go. However, a poor delivery can cost you the deal. During the meeting, you need to be clear, show your enthusiasm and let your personality shine!
And while your prospective client is investing in what your company's product and services can do for them, it's you, and their belief in you, that makes them sign on the dotted line.
While there’s plenty of research on effective sales mistakes that you can use to have a successful sales meeting, most of it comes down to common sense – sleep well, don’t be late and do your homework.
So before your next sales meeting, take the time to understand the challenges your prospect has, practice your sales pitch with colleagues, get a good night’s rest the night before and carefully plan out the route you will take in order to arrive early and on time.
Then, just before you step into the meeting, hold your head high and take a deep breath, confident in yourself for having successfully prepared for the sales meeting. Good luck!
If there are any other techniques you use to prepare for a sales meeting that we haven’t mentioned, tell us about them in the comments section below.
P.S. If you found these tips valuable, remember to share it here!