A successful sales call doesn’t happen by accident. It doesn’t happen because you are charming and people like you. It doesn’t happen because you’ve memorized every feature of your product and service. It happens when you do specific things to make it successful. Here is your sales call etiquette checklist.
- Show up early, but not too early: If you are not early, you are late. That said, it’s rude to be too early. Show up 10 minutes before your meeting starts, unless you are presenting, in which case you should show up 15 minutes early to make sure you can set up. Showing up 20 minutes early is as rude as showing up 5 minutes late.
- Prepare for your meeting: Plan your agenda. Review your notes from prior meetings. Look at your customer’s profile on LinkedIn, especially if it is your first meeting. The time you get with your clients is too important—and too rare—to wing it.
- Share your agenda: I know you’ve been told to try to make some personal connection before getting to business, but this is no longer good advice. You are a business person now, and business people share agendas and make small talk later. The last thing you want to do is show up looking like a waste of time. You asked for a business meeting. Do business.
- Preview what comes next: This is the second part of your agenda. You need to tell your prospective client what comes next. If this meeting is successful, what are the likely next steps. You are supposed to know how these things go because you sell what you sell all the time, and they rarely buy it.
- Don’t interrupt your client: One of the greatest strategies for developing rapport is to become an excellent listener. Allow your client to finish their thoughts before you speak, and recognize that oftentimes when you believe they are done speaking, they aren’t. They’re pausing, and they intend to say more. If you want trust, start here.
- Take notes: You know what it means when you don’t take notes? It means you don’t care what your client is saying, that you don’t believe you need to remember it, and that you are self-oriented, looking to your outcomes and not theirs. You should keep good notes, and you should eliminate the need to go back over information you have been provided unless you need clarity.
- Be respectful of your prospect’s time: If they agreed to an hour, your meeting should last exactly one hour. If the client needs you to continue, then you ask for permission to continue. It is disrespectful to go over time without asking for permission.
- Don’t ignore stakeholders: If there are multiple people from your client’s team in the meeting, do your best to bring them into the conversation and to make sure that you include their needs in your agenda. If they are in the meeting, they are important to the person you are meeting with, and that means they are important to you.
- Bring enough for everyone: If you are bringing anything on paper, bring enough for everyone in the room. If you bring coffee, take orders and make sure you include everyone. Same with lunch, and order extra just in case.
- Make Introductions: If you bring team mates, introduce them and their role. Make certain your client knows why they are there. By pointing out their expertise, you help the client believe in you and your team. Also, you make sure each person on your team knows what role they are serving and what questions you are likely to pass to them for their expertise.
- Review next steps and commitments: At the conclusion of a meeting, remind your client of what next steps should be, and share the commitments that you have made, and the commitments that they have agreed to. This is the list you are going to work through as you follow up, and as you prepare for your next meeting, this one having been wildly successful.
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Filed under: Sales Acumen