Making sales meetings matter

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Professional firms spend a lot of time, money and effort to deliver sales opportunities for their fee earners…and then what?

Well, whilst not exactly a horror show, sending doughty directors, partners or others, unprepared, into the board rooms of the potential client world can be a risky business.

“They didn’t have much to say, so I just told them about us and what we do” 

“They didn’t need my type of advice, so I cut my losses and got out quick”

Being a ‘walking talking brochure’ for the firm, or just focusing on your own specific area of expertise isn’t what these meetings should be about.  Here are three ways to make the whole experience more productive for everyone involved.

Do your homework  We know that business-knowledgeable professionals are much prized by existing clients, don’t we?  Just so with prospective ones too.  It takes only a few clicks of the mouse (or a call to the Marketing Department) to access a lot of detailed and useful information on organisations and their activities.  As well as  searching any trading or pre-trading history we have had.  This information can be VERY useful in spotting opportunities to discuss, and impress prospects that you have done your “homework”.  Invest this time: it will pay dividends.

Do an agenda  We know a lot of so-called professional sales people in the world outside the professions who would not dream of doing this.  Often, they are the unsuccessful ones who conduct unfocused meetings that get nowhere (usually very slowly!).  A well-produced agenda will organise your own thoughts, information needs, objectives, and ideas.  Shared with the prospect beforehand, it will involve him/her in the process of making the meeting truly productive.

Let’s talk about YOU  The main aim of new business meetings is to uncover potential needs from the prospect for any of the services we might offer, not to impress them with your detailed knowledge of the contents of the firm’s brochure.  It’s first about questions, not statements or claims.