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Sales Tip of the Month

How to Have a Highly Productive Customer Meeting

A productive face to face customer meeting can be the key to closing business.  Whether itís the first time youíre meeting the prospect or fifth time, a well organized meeting will help move the prospect through the sales cycle.  There are 6 phases to a productive meeting: 

*     Securing the meeting and reviewing the agenda with the prospect

*     Planning for and reviewing the objectives of meeting with your company

*     The beginning of the meeting, including introductions and agenda review

*     The main part of the meeting

*     The end of the meeting, including a summary of open action items

*     A debrief with your company and assignment of action items

Here are 3 meeting techniques you can use for the main part of the customer meeting:

Ask, "How Are We Doing?"

10-20 minutes after the start of the meeting, stop what you are doing and ask the client any one of the following appropriate questions:

*     Is the level of detail being presented appropriate for this meeting?

*     Does the information we have presented so far make sense to you?

*      Do you feel we should be covering another topic at this point based on how the meeting has proceeded so far?

All of the above questions let you take the temperature of your prospect/customer and will normally give you the opportunity to adjust your presentation or topic if needed.  Thereís nothing worse than going through a presentation and finding out at the END of the meeting that you should have switched topics earlier.  Your prospect/customer will appreciate you asking and it might save you from wasting a well scheduled meeting.

Offer to Walk out of the Room

If youíre in a meeting with multiple people from a company and they seem to be disagreeing on topics that you believe will cause a delay in the meeting objective, ask them if they would like a few minutes to have a discussion among themselves.  There are times you should just sit there silently and let them work it out, but if that proves unsuccessful, leaving the room can be a very powerful offer to your client.  They will appreciate your willingness to be flexible and your ďsales sensitivityĒ to their issues.  Upon returning, you will likely find that they have come to agreement on an important topic and the remaining time in the meeting will become highly productive.

Ask Questions and Practice Active Listening

While giving a presentation, make sure you ask the customer pertinent questions.  Donít get into the mode of always speaking.  Try to draw the prospect into the meeting by constantly seeing if the material is relevant to their project, if thereís anything youíre missing, and if they feel the product solves their problem. 

Once you ask a question, you should engage in active listening as the customer answers.  For example, take notes, nod your head and interject short phrases to convey you are listening and understand what they are saying.  The more you can engage the prospect in the meeting, the more information you will gain.  This information will allow the meeting to be more productive and should allow you to move the prospect through the sales cycle quicker.

Action Items and Follow-Up

One more thing that can make or break the productivity of a prospect or customer meeting from their perspective is follow-up and delivering on the action items.  During the meeting, you may have gathered useful information about their needs and helped them to think through their problem.  If you donít follow-up with the additional information they need to make a decision, it will all be for nothing.  Donít miss the chance to show how responsive you can be.

Do you have other effective meeting techniques that you want to share?  We welcome your input.  Drop us a line.



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