I believe the first meeting is the most important. It sets the stage for the entire sales process. Here are a few of the most important points I believe need to be covered and agreed upon before moving on:
When scheduling the first appointment, I ask if there is anything that would prevent the meeting from happening and if so, we can discuss it up front. I also reiterate the key point of why we will be meeting and approximately how long it will take for the meeting. If the prospect doesn’t have anything that comes to mind I have a better chance of the first appointment actually happening as scheduled. (This step alone can save a lot of time and frustration.)
At the first appointment I begin by letting my prospect know how long the meeting will go and ask for affirmation that this is still a good time for them as to prevent them from having to run out of the meeting for whatever reason. By confirming their time and sticking to the agreed upon timing of the meeting you can alleviate the prospect from trying to figure it out in his or her head during your presentation. This step not only eases the mind of your prospect, but sets the tone for how the future meetings will be handled.
I prepare an Agenda, review it with the prospect, and ask if there is anything else the prospect would like to cover. Once I get an agreement on the agenda I proceed. During this process I get an agreement upon every item and set the stage for what and how our next steps will be handled.
During the first meeting, I ask the key questions that will help me decide how I am going to approach moving forward:
Am I talking to the decision maker? If so, I inquire as to how they generally make their decisions. (If not, I end the meeting there and set another appointment where I can have the decision maker present). I believe if you are presenting to a non-decision maker you are wasting your valuable time.
I give the prospect a general overview of how my process works. I inquire as to how will they be making their investments? In general, can they afford my service?
If the prospect has/had a financial advisor, how did they go about choosing them? How will they handle the conversation with their past or current advisor when it comes down to moving their accounts to me? If we are going to be moving to the next step I coach them on the type of conversation they will have with the previous advisor.
I do a little fact finding and share a general overview of their situation and what I can do to help them.
If I do not get agreement on any of the above listed points, I do not move on. I either go back and talk about it briefly to get agreement or the meeting is over. I don’t “beat a dead horse”.
At the end of my pre-agreed upon time for the appointment I do a brief overview of what we discussed and set the next appointment. You might have noticed I do not give a presentation at the first meeting. I don’t want to give away all my juicy nuggets of information at the first meeting. I want my prospect to earn the right to hear what I have to say and how I can help them. The main take-a-way from my process is: GET YOUR PROSPECT TO AGREE UPON EACH STEP OF THE WAY AS TO NOT WASTE YOUR VALUABLE TIME!!
And the answer is….So, what does Business Networking and the First Appointment have in common? NO SELLING!!
***If your product or service is actually sold on the first appointment, you can still follow all the above points and actually get the sale without having to SELL. If you get all the agreements as listed above, your prospect will just want to buy!!
You can learn a fool proof sales process from Dale Bierce at Sandler Training in Fresno, CA. 559.412.8171. Check out his website at www.fullsalestraining.sandler.com
If you wish you can read my other helpful business networking tips at www.espressobrain.com. Happy Networking!
Twitter Handle: @GinaEstrada
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