You get a call from a new prospect who wants to meet with you and discuss your solution. He gives you a 30 minute time-slot four days from now. Unfortunately, you didn’t take the time to ask this new prospect any questions during your brief telephone conversation and now you’re concerned because thirty minutes isn’t much time to fully explore his situation AND present your solution. Here’s how you can master that sales meeting.
First, your main objectives are to gain some understanding of his situation, position your company as the solution-provider and then gain a commitment for a secondary full-length meeting.
After you meet your prospect and exchange the usual pleasantries say, “Let me tell you a little bit about us” and follow this with a short 20 second success story. Avoid telling them anything else such as how long you’ve been in business, the clients you have, etc. Stick to a success, preferably one that your prospect can relate to. Use this same approach if the prospect says, “Tell me about you or your company.”
Here’s an example, “We specialize in helping businesses like yours improve their call centre performance. We recently worked with another company in the financial sector and were able to help them improve their specific metrics in less than six months without incurring additional costs.”
Pause briefly. Then ask a thought-provoking question such as, “What prompted you to consider this now?” Make note of what they tell you and probe with two to three more high-value questions to gain a basic understanding of their specific situation.
This should take you no more than 15 minutes.
Next, summarize your understanding of their problems, concerns, and issues in bullet point form and check for confirmation before continuing. This is critical because it allows the prospect to hear EXACTLY what they told you and give you the opportunity to validate the information.
Then show the prospect how you will address each of the concerns or problems by explaining what you have done for other clients. For example, “Mr. Jones, you mentioned that one of your mandates is to reduce your abandoned call rate by 25%. We worked with a company last year and were able to achieve a similar goal by showing their call centre staff how to…”
Avoid talking about elements or aspects of your product, service or solution that have no relevance to the other person. Focus strictly on showing them how you can solve the problems they mentioned to you. This should take you approximately 10 minutes. The key is to keep your explanation concise and to the point. Don’t get into details, Don’t discuss the entire solution. Don’t talk about price or implementation procedures. Above all, don’t get side tracked into other conversations or topics. You have limited time for this meeting which means every word counts.
When you reach the 25-minute mark, look at your watch and say, “Mr. Jones, I know we only had 30 minutes scheduled for this meeting. I’d like to suggest that we meet again so we can discuss exactly how we would help you achieve the results I mentioned. Does that work for you?”
In some cases, your prospect will suggest that you stay and grant you more time. In most other situations, they will agree to a secondary meeting which means you will have achieved your main objective. You will also stand out from virtually every other sales person and company that meets with that prospect.
This is a deceptively simple approach. The key is to verbally rehearse your opening, know exactly what questions you will ask, and concentrate on keeping the explanation of your solution short and concise.
A thirty minute meeting is definitely not enough time to fully explore a prospect’s situation AND present your solution but it is ample time to differentiate yourself from the competition.