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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.

Topics: Proposal Needs Analysis successful sales meetings sales strategy prospecting

5 Ways to Breathe Life Back Into Your Weekly Sales Meetings

weekly-sales-meetingThis post was originally published on SalesHacker.com.

The weekly sales meeting — you know the one. The whole crew gets together for what amounts to an hour-long discussion around menial housekeeping items or which sales rep got a little closer to nailing a sale.

Certainly it’s important information in its own right. But, it’s not worthy of eating up an hour that could be better used securing leads. The substance of the old-school sales meeting, in essence, belongs in a weekly email.

Topics: Management successful sales meetings sales management leadership sales training

#1 Reason Why Your First Sales Appointment Went Downhill Fast and 3 Ways to Avoid

using a valid business reason when getting the first appointmentHave you ever met with a prospect for the first time and felt like the entire conversation was like pulling teeth? Maybe they took a bunch of "Oh I need to get that," phone calls or answered some urgent emails while you were waiting to ask your next question. Maybe you had to have your meeting on the phone, and you could sense the person you were meeting with was distracted and not focused during the little time you had.

Topics: Setting Appointments Needs Analysis successful sales meetings Sales salespeople

Just Say “No” To Meetings

sales managers with too many sales meetingsIn over 25 years of working with sales managers, I have heard countless stories about how urgent items have displaced important items. When we work with managers, they readily agree that items like these are very important to their success in the job:

Topics: Management successful sales meetings time management sales management

This Should Have Been An Email

coffemugAs an Account Executive, we hated when it happened.

As a Sales Manager, we might have done it a few times... ok... we probably did it a lot. 

We turned an email into a sales meeting (or for us older guys... a memo). 

Topics: successful sales meetings sales management sales culture salespeople

Was It Really a Good Meeting? How to Make Sure Your Prospects Call You Back

Salespeople_shaking_hands

“I had a really good meeting! But. . . I can’t get the prospect to call me back!” or “I had such a great meeting, but I never got an answer to the proposal.” I hear statements like these frequently when working with salespeople. They return from a meeting telling their manager how great it was, but then nothing happens. Wishful thinking sets in. Calls get made to the prospect on a weekly basis, managers ask about it in their weekly meetings, and salespeople start saying, “I don’t know what could have happened—the meeting went so well!”

What does “I had a really good meeting” really mean? For some, it means the meeting was long. For some, it means the prospect opened up and talked a great deal. For some, the client nodded and sounded interested. This list could go on and on.

Topics: successful sales meetings Sales

Don’t Let Your Ego Get in the Way of a Sale

Ego.jpg

We’re all familiar with Ego. If someone says you have a “big ego,” you know that’s not a compliment. At least not in most circles. Your Ego is about your survival. At its best, your Ego is simply your awareness of your own identity and how you interact with the outside world.

Let’s look at five strategies your Ego may be using that may be interfering with the way you interact with business prospects and partners.

Topics: successful sales meetings Sales

Are You a Salesperson or a Business Person?

Salesperson_and_Businessman

There are so many areas in life where balance is important. I believe a political view too far to the right or too far to the left is not healthy, and a workout routine that is exclusively power lifting will not make you as healthy as a more diverse exercise routine.  

This is true in the sales profession as well. Great salespeople are generally hard workers and focused on the job at hand. But if you spend all your time focused on selling and not on understanding the greater business climate, you will not be as effective in your selling or as helpful to your clients.

Topics: successful sales meetings Sales salespeople

A Few Simple Probes Can Prevent You From Missing Critical Information

Businessmen

As a sales manager and a sales consultant, I have witnessed literally thousands of sales calls with competent and hard-working salespeople—professionals who have done their homework on the prospect, prepared thought-provoking questions that make it obvious they know something about the prospect’s business, and who pose questions with a genuine interest in hearing the answers. Sometimes it is magical and they help the prospect clarify a specific problem that needs to be addressed or an opportunity on which they would really like to capitalize. And, sometimes, all they do is get their questions answered and move on. Too bad. 

What makes the difference between an interactive conversation that engages the prospect and one that is rote and turns into simply an information-gathering exercise? Follow up questions. Good follow up questions are never scripted. Good follow up questions show you were listening, that you are interested, and that you really need to learn more about the headline the prospect has just shared. Some simple open probes can reveal a lot of context and detail you need to know about a problem or opportunity—information you will probably never get if you simply move on to your next beautifully-crafted question. For example:

  •  That’s interesting. Tell me why you say that.
  • What do you mean by that? 
  • Really? Tell me more about that.
Topics: successful sales meetings Sales

4 Ted Talks You Should Show in a Sales Meeting

sales-team-meeting.jpg

If your sales meetings are typically just focused on reviewing the budget pacing numbers and other housekeeping notes, then WOW are you missing a great opportunity. Sales meetings are a great place to do sales training or sales warm ups. While most sales managers agree with this, they often share that one of the reasons they don’t do that sort of activity is that they don’t have time to prepare. Clients of the Center for Sales Strategy often use one of the “sales meeting kits, ” but not everyone has that available to them. So if you are looking for some content to enliven your next sales meeting, here are four TED talks that we recommend.

A summary is provided so you can get an idea of what each talk is about.

Topics: successful sales meetings Sales