Getting that first appointment with a new business prospect is rarely an easy task. In fact, there is usually a direct correlation between how long it takes to get an appointment and the spending potential of a prospect. Simply put, quality prospects take more time!
Because so many hours are spent persuading a prospect to meet, it makes sense to get the most out of the meeting. World-class salespeople use the first appointment to uncover business challenges that lead to cash, instead of wasting the opportunity pitching, pitching, pitching.
After getting comfortable and socializing a bit with the prospect during the opening minutes of the call, try the following steps to get the most out of the opportunity:
- Let the prospect know you hope to walk away from the meeting with an assignment (a big problem the prospect will spend money to solve).
- Demonstrate you know something about the prospect's business (based on your research).
- Let the prospect know you prepared some questions and the meeting will be about discovering their problems and discussing how to solve them—not about pitching, pitching, pitching.
- Ask open-ended questions, and don't waste the prospect’s time asking questions you should know the answers to. (Research before the meting will come in handy here).
- First seek to understand, and you will have plenty of time to be understood (to pitch your products and close a deal).
Pitching a proposal or dominating a first customer meeting with excessive product pitching are turnoffs that rarely lead to a second meeting!
These five tips seem pretty basic and obvious; unfortunately they are ignored by many salespeople. Take them for a test drive the next time you have a first meeting with a new business prospect. You'll uncover more challenges that lead to cash, and solve more business problems that lead to a business partnership!