Did you know that sales are almost never lost in the conclusion of sales meetings?
Most sales consultants do not know this. They place all their focus into the closing and dismiss the start. They believe they can simply provide the best pitch to the potential client at the conclusion of the meeting, and they'll win them over.
It is almost like they're presenting closing arguments in a courtroom to convince a jury.
How twisted is that? We are here to assist them, not convince them.
The reality is, sales are nearly always lost (or won) in the onset of the meeting -- especially in the initial three to five minutes. How you begin determines how you will finish, which can be why we have spent the past several posts looking at how to begin strong in your sales meetings.
The primary key to beginning strong would be to take the lead and drive. When you set your own leadership early in the meeting, your potential client will likely be confident you can lead them to the solution they're after.
The next key is to milestone the meeting. When you inform them just how the meeting will proceed and give them a sense of control, they'll lower their resistance and open up to what you have to say.
Now we will look at the final step to beginning powerful in a sales meeting.
DISRUPT THEIR AGENDA
Have you ever noticed in most sales meetings, you and your prospect come in with different goals?
Your goal is to sign a new client, but what’s their goal?
Usually, they’re hoping to get free information from you about how to fix their technology problems on their own.
When your agendas don’t line up, it’s much better to deal with that up front rather than wait until the end of the conversation, right?
If they think they’re here to get free information, we need to get that idea out of their head and remind them to think about their real issues.
There are just two questions I find really valuable for reminding prospects of the reason behind why they're sitting down to meet.
Typically, I ask them like this: “We’ve got some time set aside together, but before we get started I want to know something. Why now and why me? Specifically. What’s going on in your business right now that makes this the right time to have a conversation about how to ______?”
Think about it. If somebody calls you for free information about X, it’s because they have a need for X. This X is either a solution to a problem they have or a goal they want to achieve.
When you ask them ‘Why Now?’, here’s what you’re really saying: “I know you think you came for free information, but you’re just looking for free information to solve a specific problem. What’s the actual problem? Let’s just solve that, and forget the free information piece. Why do you want to talk about ______?”
You are not here to provide free information.
You are here because there is something happening in the prospect’s business that requires repairing. Prompt them to let you know what that challenge is from the very start.
When you ask "Why Me?", you are getting them to inform you how they learned about you personally, what they know about you, and what they admire about you. You may even ask them to inform you why they're having this dialogue with you rather than somebody else.
This isn’t to boost your ego.
They’re not telling you why you’re great— they’re telling themselves why you’re great.
When you do these two things, you’ve made it clear that the conversation is about solving a specific problem, and you’ve made them spend 45 seconds telling you — and more importantly, telling themselves — why they think you might be the solution to their problem.
You’ve reshuffled their agenda.
So to quickly recap our 3 secret keys to start strong in a sales meeting, we need to:
Take the lead. Don’t try to earn their trust and ask for responsiveness. Instead, assume trust and demand responsiveness. Lead!
2. MILESTONE THE MEETING
Let them know the three important things you want to cover in the meeting:
· Where do you want to go?
· What’s holding you back?
· Where are you now?
Then give them control. Once they feel like they have control, they won’t need to use it.
3. RESHUFFLE THEIR AGENDA
Have them describe to you (and themselves) why they want it now, and why they want it from you.
When you use these three secret keys in the initial five minutes of a sales meeting, you are able to decide how the meeting will finish -- ideally with you gaining more customers.