Kicking off a meeting can be so positive and exciting. It’s the open door every salesperson wants. This can easily all go wrong though; with one wrong move, your entire sales process will be put in jeopardy. Derailing the meeting = derailing the process. To avoid this, you need to plan your moves. This article contains three sales techniques and tips that will help get your meeting off to a good start.

Prepare for your sales meeting in advance

The most successful salespeople don’t wing it. That isn’t a good strategy and is a certain path to failure. What they do instead is think it through, prepare, and plan exactly what they will say and do in advance. There is clear data that shows having a plan works. First of all, it means you have a plan which you can move through sequentially, so you aren’t all over the place. You have a clear process that you can follow, so you know you are saying everything you need to without worrying something has been left out or forgotten. Each topic flows naturally from the previous one, and there is nothing careless about the conversation.

A notepad featuring a yes and no checklist.

Bad salespeople, on the other hand, don’t structure their conversations. They may have an end goal, but they’ve no idea how or when they’ll get there. This can be confusing for both the salesperson and the person they are selling to. What they are saying has no structure, which results in an aimless conversation that moves from an unrelated topic to an unrelated topic.

Think about how you’re going to get from the beginning to the end. Consider what you’ll talk about, when you’ll say certain things and how you’ll transition from one thing to another smoothly. Try this yourself and remember; practice makes perfect.

Set an ‘Upfront Contract’

Get the buyer to agree to an upfront contract as early on as possible. This really lets you take hold of a sales meeting. You want the buyer to agree to some things right at the beginning of the meeting. These include:

  • The purpose of the meeting
    The buyer’s agenda and expectations
    Your agenda and expectations
    The time limit of the meeting
    What the outcome of the meeting will be

If you do this, both you and the buyer will know what to expect from the meeting and each other. This focuses them and their decision making and builds their confidence in you because they know you have a plan. And you’ll convince them you know what you’re talking about. It ensures your meeting is targeted and clear.

A man and a woman shaking hands

Ask “What’s changed since last we talked?”

If you do everything right, you’ll make it to a second or third meeting. Still, you will need to put as much thought and effort into these meetings as you did into the first one. Right at the beginning ask, “What’s changed since the last time we talked?” You ask this because change is one thing you need to look out for after your first meeting. This is because it can throw a spanner in the works of your plan. You need to be aware that buyers have to change environments that can make a deal go off the table. If you ask what’s changed in every meeting you can stay ahead of these changes. It is far better to know what you’re facing at the start of a meeting than find out halfway through. You can even uncover potential changes that could be a problem in the future. No matter what the answer, it is vital information that can make or break a deal.

Good sales meetings are just common sense

Three individuals in a meeting.

It’s easy to get drawn in by clever tips and tricks and miss the basics of what makes a good sales meeting. But it’s simple really, the secret to effective sales meetings are strong preparation and clear communication. Stick to doing these things and doing them well and you won’t need lists of wacky tips and tricks. Meetings don’t have to be hard and the best way to make yourself stand out is not fancy words and witty anecdotes, but to clearly and effectively present and explain how you can provide exactly what the client wants.