“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.
When I hear these laments, I immediately think:
1. Was a clear assignment given from the prospect? Did the salesperson ask the questions needed to make sure a next step was defined?
2. Do we know how success will be measured? Did the salesperson get the prospect to specifically outline what he or she wants to accomplish?
3. How soon are results wanted? Are they realistic? Did the salesperson go through the S.M.A.R.T. Goals framework with the prospect?
4. Do we know the target consumer beyond age and gender? Did the salesperson get a clear picture of not only demographic information, but also the psychographics of the specific market being targeted?
5. Do we know the prospect’s expectations and what he or she wants to accomplish? This ties in with #2 and #3. Did the salesperson ask about and understand the prospect’s goals, setting realistic expectations and helping the prospect to understand what can actually be accomplished within a certain timeframe?
“Good meetings” aren’t subjective or based on feelings. Salespeople need to know what prospects are genuinely likely to close soon, which need nurturing, and which shouldn’t be pursued. By doing the work to find the answers they need to, salespeople can spend their time focusing on what will ultimately be the most profitable.