Have a Purpose for Your Next Sales Call

There seems to be a fair bit of confusion on how to effectively run a sales call (meeting).  A couple of years ago my partner, John Orvos, introduced me to a very simple format for running sales meetings that I now use every time I am in front of a prospect.  The format is:

  • Introduction
  • Purpose
  • Needs discovery

There a few stages after “needs discovery” to take you to the ultimate close but I usually find in selling complex solutions that these stages have to be tackled in subsequent meetings.  Therefore for the first meeting all I need to remember are the three points above.

Introduction
The introductory phase of the meeting should be pretty short with most prospects (at least in the North East corridor).  This section involves some small talk to warm up (two minutes literally in New York!) and a very brief reminder of what your company does and what your prospect does.  This section should be kept brief because it not that important.

Purpose
Once the initial introduction is complete you need to state the purpose for the meeting.  “As I understand it we are meeting today to discuss…XYZ…Is that correct?”  Usually the prospect will just say “Yes”

The reason stating the purpose of the meeting is important is that it naturally gives you control of the meeting. In ninety percent of meetings it will allow you to start asking questions rather than have the prospect bombard you with questions that are often designed to find weaknesses and risks in your offering.

Needs Discovery
Once you have taken control of the meeting you can naturally slip into asking questions to unearth the needs of the prospect.  The correct questions to ask are another large subject altogether. In fact, enough to fill a book! And The book on this subject is Neil Rackham’s SPIN Selling. (I can cover some of the basics on these questions in a future post).

So the next time you go on a sales call remember to state the purpose for the meeting.  It will get you off the “back foot”…which those who play cricket know is a good thing.

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