Article #54, February, 2007
Control Your Sales Meetings
Your sales meeting could be a fr'ee consultation, in person or by telephone, a demonstration, or it could be in your store. It could be long or short. The big question is: Who controls the meeting?
Customer service is hugely important, and it starts with the sales meeting. You are the expert in your industry and regarding your specific product/service. If you allow the prospect to do all the talking and ask all the questions, you lose the opportunity to show the prospect how well your product will fulfill their needs and solve their problems.
You are not doing your potential customer any favors by allowing them to take control. Also, when you come to the meeting with an agenda you look very professional and organized.
You can have several intentions with your agenda, but the main one should be to get the sale! For me, since I so enjoy my fr'ee consultations, I have to additionally use my agenda to keep me on track so I keep the length of the meeting reasonable.
On your agenda, you should have open-ended questions. These questions do not have a "yes" or "no" or other such specific answer. Examples of open ended questions include:
- What is it you most want?
- Would you please tell me about _______?
- What problem are you currently experiencing with your ______
- How are you currently handling this problem?
- If you could change something about your ________, what would it be?
- How do you think I could help you?
Then, if you want more information or if you sense there is something more to what they have already told you, you can ask:
- Could you please tell me more about that?
- Anything else?
The most important skill you will need to be a great salesperson is LISTENING.
The prospect will list for you all their selling points - all the reasons they need your product. Many people need to be heard. If you really listen, you may get the sale based solely on this ability. Also, you may have heard that you should only talk 20 percent of the time, but I think this depends on your product or service. For coaches and consultants, the prospect often wants to hear us talk - they are getting fr'ee advice they would otherwise have to pay for! Just do not over-do it.
Here is an example of a basic sales meeting agenda -
- Ask open-ended questions that will give you the information you need to sell them your product, and will demonstrate to the prospect that you care about their needs.
- Tell them just enough about your product or service so they will begin understanding how your product could benefit them - resist the urge to vomit information on them, and don't talk about yourself! Unless they ask, they usually don't really care about you.
- Close the sale by putting their needs together with your product. (What I do is demonstrate my coaching by coaching the prospect around the issues they mentioned to me, demonstrating value. I then summarize what we could work on together and how they would benefit, drawing on the needs they already outlined earlier.)
One more question you can ask, if it fits into your agenda, is:
- Do you know anyone else who could benefit from my services?
Then you need to ask for the sale!.