The importance of making sales meetings count
For B2B buyers, every minute counts. That means buyers consider every minute they spend answering questions that sellers could have answered with a cursory internet search a waste of their time.
Wasting a buyer’s time likely hurts your sellers’ chances of winning a deal. Buyers have little tolerance for explaining their business to sellers. If your sellers are asking basic questions while the competition has already performed their research, your sellers will fall behind in the buyer’s eyes.
But it’s often hard for sellers to find time to do the required research. Sellers have so many tasks on their plate that they have little time to sell, much less research before they pitch to a prospect. As a result, too many sellers ask preliminary questions to get up to speed.
Instead, sellers should start following the sales training techniques taught in Conceptual Selling® with Perspective and focus on these five strategies designed to make sales meetings count.
1. Prepare for sales meetings in advance
Before your sellers’ next sales meeting or call, they should create a detailed plan of attack. They should outline their agenda and goals for the meeting. Sellers should also maintain a client-centric focus and brainstorm questions that will help them provide value.
To start the sales meeting, sellers should articulate the single sales objective (SSO), or the piece of business that they hope to secure. The SSO should define the purpose for every call and meeting. When writing the SSO, your sellers should make sure it meets these five criteria:
- The product or service that they intend to sell
- An objective so clear and specific that anyone can understand it
- A measurable goal in terms of units or revenue
- A timeline for closing the deal
- A single goal rather than multiple components
Additionally, your sellers should invest in background research for everyone attending the sales meeting, not just their direct contact. Sellers face an average of 6.4 buying influences per deal, spread across many roles in different departments. Each one brings unique interests and pain points, so it’s critical for your sellers to learn as much as possible about all of these buying influences, including their decision-making style.
2. Align buyer and seller objectives
Both your sellers and your buyers have aspirations for your partnership. But if you haven’t aligned these goals as part of your enterprise sales strategy, you won’t be moving in the same direction. And your sellers aren’t likely to help the buyer move further down the sales funnel.
Be sure your sellers have aligned their objectives with the buyer’s needs so that everyone is on the same page and driving toward win-win outcomes.
One way for your sellers to start off on the right foot and give buyers a reason to spend time with them is to offer them a valid business reason. A valid business reason gives buyers the information they need to understand who your sellers are and why they want to meet with them. It also sets mutual expectations for the sales meeting and reinforces how the meeting will benefit the buyer.
3. Control and run the sales meeting
Before your sellers walk into a sales meeting, they need a detailed meeting strategy. Our Green Sheet is an outstanding tool to use to organize their plan, enabling your sellers to better engage buyers and find a solution that benefits both your organization and your customer.
Your sellers should also determine how to establish a dialogue that moves the deal forward. They need to ask good questions that help them understand the buyer’s situation, motivations, and decision-making process. The Green Sheet helps sellers structure questions in a logical order that leads customers through each phase of the buying journey.
4. Make the most of the buyer’s time
Your sellers don’t have a minute to waste, so they must choose their questions wisely. They should use focused and specific questions to move opportunities forward within a sales meeting. The more specific your sellers are, the clearer it will be to the client that they’ve done their homework.
The types of questions that your sellers should ask depend on the stage of the buyer’s path and which buying influences are present. Generally, your sellers should plan to ask four types of questions:
- Confirming questions to validate data and highlight inaccuracies
- New information questions to improve their understanding of the buyer’s goal
- Attitude questions to learn how achieving the goal will affect them the buyer
- Commitment questions to determine where your buyer is in the process and obtain the buyer’s agreement to move the deal forward
Asking good questions also reinforces your sellers’ credibility. By asking insightful questions and listening more than they talk, your sellers demonstrate interest in the buyer’s needs instead of just pushing the solution.
5. Differentiate the sales solution
Sellers should conclude sales meetings with a clear differentiation of the solution that will move the deal to the next phase. They should also show your buyer that the partnership is built on shared value.
Buyers make purchases in one of two ways: randomly selecting a solution or differentiating between solutions. When sellers highlight your solution’s unique strengths, it helps buyers see the distinction between your solution and others.
A unique strength is more than a feature or benefit. To uncover a unique strength, sellers should start with the buyer’s goal and relate your solution to that goal. Your unique strength might relate to your knowledge, product or service, implementation, technology, training, or something else entirely.
Bring more perspective to your sales meetings
Sales success requires a plan for customer interactions in your enterprise sales strategy. With Conceptual Selling® with Perspective, your sellers learn sales training techniques, including a repeatable structure for conversations that gives them an edge in selling.
Start putting perspective in play by following a sales effectiveness framework that ensures your sellers offer value in every buyer conversation. Sign up for Conceptual Selling® with Perspective and contact us today.