October 28th, 2016

Having prepared for the sales call, with a little profile digging and question outlining, it is worth making a note of what you think the next meeting is likely to look like by preparing an agenda. Refine your initial draft in the first few minutes of discovery on the call. Once you have locked in a meeting, explain that you have been jotting a few notes down around a potential agenda format and ask them how it sounds. Not only will you look efficient and professional, it will also give them the opportunity to make any necessary changes then and there on the phone.

Agenda Format

A typical first meeting agenda may look as follows:

1. Credentials

Discover more about their credentials and simultaneously push your own business credentials. You should always be able to reel off a 30 second elevator pitch of your own career and credentials. To perfect it, just practice, practice, practice!

2. Goals

Unearth their strategic goals and be sure to make a note of them. Discuss figures and timescales so you can fully align your pitch with their business objectives.

3. Challenges

Learn more about their current situation and how they are performing against the outlined goals. This should reveal where their challenges lie and where your product or service will fit in.

4. Solutions

With reference to the strategic goals and potential challenges unearthed so far, explain the ways in which you can help. Whatever you are selling needs to be a solution to meeting their goals and resolving their challenges; position yourself as a problem-solver.

5. Fact-finding

Down to the nitty-gritty, it is time to check back into your qualification process. Once you have proven your value and offered solutions to their problems, you can be more open and direct with questions. Have you been speaking to the decision maker? Do they have the budget for the product or service you are offering? If they are far removed from the decision maker or do not have the budget then you could be wasting your time. Continually measure their qualification.

Clarifying next steps

It is vital to be clear on the next steps in order to avoid stalling the process. Provide a sequence of events, including clear actions and deadlines. Convey that you found the meeting to be a really interesting one and that you are excited about the ways you can work together. Stress that in order for the process to go as smoothly as possible, you need to jointly agree a sequence of events to carry the sale forwards.

For example, if you are trying to sell a piece of business software then the sequence of events may go as follows:

  • Client to test the software with 15 of their staff
  • Client to=”” confirm=”” wider=”” company=”” approval=””
  • Following approval, Yellowball to send a detailed proposal
  • Client to take proposal to CFO and confirm budget approval
  • Yellowball to speak with client IT director regarding integration of software
  • Client and Yellowball to sign contracts
  • Yellowball to receive first payment
  • Yellowball to carry out initial setup

 

Be sure to include rigid but realistic dates and deadlines. The key is to work with them; they know their internal process for buying and procuring new products and services, you just need to work with them to get a yes or no answer at each stage. Providing such a comprehensive sequence of events may seem off-putting to the prospective client. Therefore, ensure you frame it by saying that you want to make the process as clear and smooth as possible so you can avoid disturbing them at the wrong times. They will surely appreciate your thoughtfulness!

If they are reluctant to go through this process then at this point you need to reassess whether they continue to qualify or not. If they will not commit to a sequence of events then to save yourself time, it is worth putting this particular sales process on hold. Diarise a follow up call for several months down the line, depending on the situation. You can then try to pick up the process properly or archive the project altogether.

 

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