Seven top tips for acing a first sales meeting
Every interaction you have with a customer or potential client matters. But few are as pivotal as that initial sales call or meeting. These can be the difference between success and failure.
In that first meeting, you have limited time to build a relationship with a prospective client and convince them your product or service will make a difference to their business, so it’s important to get it right from the off.
The best way to yield results is with a face-to-face meeting, but this isn’t always possible. Instead, you may have to change your strategy to suit a sales call instead. But whether your sales meeting is in person or over the phone, positive first impressions remain crucial.
At Pareto, we know the value of getting it right in meetings, which is why our sales training courses give your sales team the fundamentals they need to succeed, from building a robust meeting structure to being able to steer meetings in the right direction.
Dazzle your next client and close more often by following our top tips on what to say and how to lead in a sales meeting.
1. Make a great first impression
It takes clients seconds to determine how confident, friendly and capable you are, all of which will play a role in their decision to do business with you. Here are a few ways to make a great first impression:
- Appearance – Your personal image affects a client’s perception. Make sure you dress appropriately for the business you are pitching to.
- Body language – According to professional speaker Brian Tracy, 55% of your sales pitch is in your body language. This includes your posture, the strength of your handshake and how much eye contact you make.
- Communication – Polite gestures like thanking the client for their time can make a big difference.
- Intentions – Going to the meeting simply determined to make a sale can reflect badly. Take the time to get to know your client and their needs before you try to push products and services.
2. Do your research
While you’ll naturally learn more about the client during the sales meeting, do some prior research to understand where your focus should be.
Learn as much as you can about the company, competitors and industry, and look up the person you’ll be speaking to for an insight into what matters to them.
This can also help structure your sales meeting or call and help you better answer any questions. One study revealed 70% of salespeople are not prepared enough to answer questions during a sales meeting, so make sure you are.
3. Defining your sales meeting agenda
Your first sales meeting agenda can set the tone for future business. You don’t need to share it with the client, but having an agenda to follow can make you feel more confident and give your meeting purpose.
The main things to consider when building a structure for your sales meeting are:
- What the overall goal of the meeting is.
- A rough timeline, including time for questions.
- The next steps, such as a follow up meeting or trial order.
4. Build a rapport
The more personable you are, the better your chances of success. Take the time to get to know more about your client on a personal level.
If a client mentions they’re pressed for time in a sales call, dive straight into the pitch. On the other hand, those who have made the effort to travel to your office may prefer some small talk.
5. Ask the right questions
You need to fully understand the client’s needs to identify potential opportunities before making a sale, so ask the right questions in the initial sales call or meeting. These could include:
- What is the biggest challenge your company faces?
- Why are you unhappy with your current product/service?
- What do you hope to achieve in the next year?
- Do you have any concerns about our product/service?
- How do you see this product/service improving your job?
6. Identify a problem and provide an opportunity
With more information, you should be able to paint a clear picture of your client’s challenges and identify how you can help solve them. Before promising the client you can fix a specific problem, it’s important to demonstrate how you add value.
Speak openly about case studies related to their industry to give real world examples that show your product or service is trustworthy.
7. Determine your next steps
Your overall goal is to sell to the client, but this isn’t always achievable during your first sales meeting.
Be direct in your next steps for a successful lead. Ask the client if you can schedule another meeting or follow-up call to discuss further to ensure you remain front of mind.
Even if you manage to close straightaway, determining next steps can be important to maintain a good rapport with the client. Connect with them on LinkedIn, organise a monthly phone call for feedback and future opportunities and get them to sign up to your company’s newsletter.
Sales meetings are a fundamental part of any sales role. Improve your team’s skills and ensure every initial sales call or meeting ends positively with sales training courses from Pareto.