One of the practices we preach is that every client meeting should start with a quick overview of events leading up to the meeting, and an agenda for what you would like to accomplish during the session. It is a step that people often skip… at their own peril. Why do I make that sound so ominous?
Pretend, for a moment, that I’m your client. Hypothetically, here are a few things that have happened since we spoke on the phone last week. Read each bullet point really fast, because that’s the pace at which I’m thinking about them:
I got a shipment that I was not expecting and I have no place to put it. I’ve been fighting with the supplier about it, but he has the right to mess with my floor plan based on some covenants in our contract. I HATE paperwork!
With the recession now over, my landlord is trying to raise the rent. My home office wants me to provide a bunch of numbers so they can figure out the cost of staying versus moving to a new location.
This morning, one employee told me that another (who operates risky machinery) has been taking prescription meds (or worse) on the job.
I’m being audited.
Four other vendors—who supply products and services quite similar to the kind you sell—have been relentlessly begging for an appointment.
One of my vendors has just informed me that two of their lines are facing a recall situation. Just when I was going into high season for those goods!
My spouse is angry because I have worked late four out of the past five nights.
Now… What was it you wanted to tell me?
This page could be a hundred lines longer, in some cases. And in a world where your client’s mind is on so many things, it is simply a common courtesy for you to start the meeting by taking a breath, sitting down, and catching him or her up before you dive into your needs analysis or presentation.
Just because your client’s body is in the room does not mean their mind has followed.
Pause, review, provide an agenda… and give your client one of the most stable and productive meetings she or he is likely to have this week.
Contracting is part of proving to a new prospect or client that you can be trusted. Here you can download more on how to build this foundation for success.
Mike Anderson is VP of Consumer Insights and Communication at The Center for Sales Strategy