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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Set the Stage for Success: Prepare Yourself AND Your Prospect

prepare your prospect before a meetingIMAGINE THIS: After countless attempts to connect with a prospect, your persistence has paid off. You did it! You've got the meeting on the calendar, you are feeling great! Now, you have one chance to make a great first impression, and it needs to count. Luckily, you have a few days to prepare so you can ensure the meeting runs smoothly and the prospect views you as a trusted and valued partner.

While it’s important to prepare yourself for the meeting, you also want to prepare the prospect. This is one thing that salespeople often overlook prior to a meeting. Most prospects are going to expect you to come in and tell them why they need to buy your product or service. It’s up to you to go out of your way to be sure they know you are different and you are not going to do that. Don't just prepare yourself... also prepare your prospect.

Prepare Yourself

Here are a few ways to help to prepare yourself and ensure you ask the the best questions, collecting the information you need during the meeting:

  1. Research the prospect by checking out their LinkedIn and with a Google Search.

  2. Research the company via their website, social media, and recent blog posts.

  3. Research their industry and identify trends, opportunities, and challenges they might be facing.

  4. Familiarize yourself with terminology from your prospect’s industry, and ensure you know how to use it appropriately.

  5. Sample the product or take a walk through their physical location, if possible.

As you prepare your questions, be mindful of which ones will send you away with an agreed-upon, quality assignment.

Prepare Your Prospect

After preparing yourself, it’s just as important to prepare your prospect prior to a meeting. Here are a few ideas to prepare your prospect:

  1. Establish your credibility. Differentiate yourself from other salespeople by demonstrating the value you offer by demonstrating empathy, expertise and problem solving capabilities. Position yourself as a business peer by sharing insights you discover. Ensure you focus on your process, and not your product when communicating prior to your meeting.

  2. Align expectations. Be sure to restate the date, time, location, and duration. Determine who should attend and who will attend the meeting. Reconfirm the purpose of the meeting.
  1. Discuss desired outcomes from this meeting, and what success would look like. 
  1. Further establish credibility by asking them to connect on LinkedIn.

By preparing both yourself and your prospect, you will open the door for better communication, better use of both of your time, and most importantly, a better meeting outcome that leaves you with the answers you need to deliver a valuable proposal.

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Topics: successful sales meetings Proposal prospecting sales strategy Needs Analysis