The Meetings Before The Meeting
"It is suggested that you have at least two meetings and one phone call with each potential client as a prerequisite to starting the buying/selling process."
Many times we start presenting and selling before we have paid the price of admission or earned the right to proceed, and this can be a big mistake.
If you don't know anything about the company you are targeting, and don't take the time to get to know the buyer as a person before you start presenting and selling, most likely you will fail.
We first need to start a relationship with our buyer and get to know them and their company before we start the buying/selling process.
We do this to determine whether or not the buyer likes you and wants to do business with you.
We also need to determine if our two companies are a good fit, and in fact, if we can help them with our products and services.
Prospecting Guidelines - First Meeting (chance encounter)
Note: we are looking for people to meet and get to know. This is the first step in relationship building. Finding people and sharing information.
Rule #1: Remember, you are not presenting, you are not selling, and you are only sharing information during your first meeting!
Rule #2: Talk more about the person you are speaking with and less about you and what you do for a living!
The first meeting is complete (5-10 minutes) when the conversation comes to a natural end; you have exchanged information, maybe collected a business card or other contact information and are ready to move on.
Final question: "May I call you later to continue this conversation?"
Phone Call Guidelines - Follow Up to Set Second Meeting
Note: you are just calling to set a meeting to share more information. This is the second step in relationship building. The client gets to hear your voice, renew the acquaintance and interact with you one more time before seeing you at the next meeting.
Phone Call Example: "Hi Jim, this is Bill; we spoke briefly last week at the chamber of commerce business after hour's event. We didn't get a chance to get into much 'Business Talk' but I have a different perspective on corporate branding that I think you would enjoy hearing. What I would like to do is set a time when we can meet for maybe 15-20 minutes to chat and review this information. Would you be open to that? Great, when is a good time for you?"
Meeting Guidelines - Second Meeting (client's office)
Note: we are there to review a different perspective on corporate branding, and not to sell. (See Rule #1) Get to know the client better, and make a friend.
The second meeting is complete (15-20 Minutes) when you have shared the information and asked your final question.
"Our different perspective on corporate branding is how to use promotional products in programs. Safety programs, incentive programs, merchandising programs, etc."
Begin by explaining how promotional products are used in programs, share program examples, answer any questions, and ask the final question.
Final Question: "Where do you think we should go from here?"
Remember... you are not presenting or selling at this meeting and you need to let your buyer make all decisions about next step or when to set the next meeting.
Best of Success!
Dale Limes, MAS, is Senior Vice President of Sales for HALO Branded Solutions. He is an industry veteran of 27 years, a frequent trainer at industry events, and consults with distributors at every level to help increase sales and efficiency.