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In my previous blog, I discussed appointing a sales call with a prospective client, identifying the decision-maker(s) within the targeted organisation and how to arrange your initial meeting. Give them a reason why they should see you and appoint with them directly. Here are some tips for your initial meeting with your potential client.

Your potential client wants to know if your product will create a greater ROI (return on investment) to their business. That’s the key to selling smartly, and should be the focal point for your meeting.

I have over 25 years’ experience as a sales and marketing consultant, selling up to 17 products and services to 6-8 businesses per day. From my experience, gathering information will let you know what they need now, in 6 months’ time, and in 12 months’ time. So, by meeting with your target customer, you will be able to gather the information you need to pitch for a sale.

Remember they are meeting you based on the conversation they’ve already had with you on the phone so they are interested in what you have to say. This was established in my previous blog,

Don’t go in to the meeting blind

Always do your prep work beforehand, if not you may lose the sale before you start. Good sellers know their product or service inside and out, but great sellers use the needs of the target client and understand the ways their alternative product/service will have a positive impact on their prospect’s business, and sell through that lens. Never forget that your client buys based on tangible results. In order to do this, you must have knowledge on the target company, in which this meeting is essential for gaining this important information.

Questioning strategies

Always question your prospect’s business with your product or service in mind. Start by asking what sides of their business they have e.g. networks, equipment, maintenance. If maintenance is the least important to them and networks is the most important, start by questioning on the least important aspects first (maintenance). This way the decision-maker will wait to talk about the most important first (networks). But if you start with the most important side first, they may cut the meeting short leading to a potential loss in a further sale for you.

Always ask probing, open questions, such as ‘If an email were to come in now, what job would you like it to be and why?’. ‘Would this be a large or small contract?’. ‘How much would that cost, % profit, how long would it take?’. ‘How many of these could you do in a month/week? and ‘Would you need to take on more staff to achieve this?’.

Don’t forget consequence questioning too, e.g. ‘If you don’t get these jobs what would that mean to your business?’. ‘If you didn’t achieve it, would you have to cut jobs?’. Similarly, ‘if they did achieve it, could you get into difficulty?’.

End your line of questioning with a commitment-styled question, whereby you are seeking for the decision-maker(s) to arrive at the thought of your product/service being a solution for their business. e.g. ’If you could find a way of achieving this would you look at it?’. ‘What are you prepared to do to move your business in that direction?’. ‘Would you be prepared to invest in order to help you achieve that?’.

Getting the right outcome

What is important with your meeting, is to know if you can pitch the sale there and then, or to propose a second meeting, if you should find yourself in a situation whereby a sale is unattainable, don’t be afraid to do so. Getting the best outcome for both parties is vital.

If you know that the deal is small and you can pitch the sale then, do so! This is a ‘One Call’ strategy. But for this strategy to be successful, you should tell who you are pitching to, that you will require a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ at the end of the meeting.

Alternatively, if you know the company is large/or has a number of sides to their business, you may want to let them know at the top of the meeting that you’re not going to pitch today. Reappoint the second meeting in 2/3 days and pitch for their business then.

You now should have all the answers to go back and sell your product or process, and have enough information that there should be no objections that you cannot handle.

Remember these are example questions, there are many, many more depending on the product/service your selling. If you would like to talk to us about getting to the heart of sales, or sales questioning we can help you. Please contact us on,bgp_team@chester.ac.uk

In my next blog, I will discuss handling objections.

Jo Vernon
Business Development Manager

The Cheshire and Warrington Business Growth Programme is a consortium of North West based partners set up to deliver business growth activities across priority sectors from 2016-2021.

With a £3.85m investment of European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) matched by investment by the three partner Institutions, this innovative programme brings together three key business support providers across Cheshire and Warrington to offer businesses access to a variety of services.

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