Guest post by Dylan Berger.
Effective face-to-face client sales meetings, whether online or in person, are critical to your B2B operation. They’re a significant opportunity for you to secure clients and keep them happy.
However, the keys to an extraordinary meeting can be hard to find. The less-experienced members of your sales team may think they need to revamp their presentation strategy to truly wow clients. Or they may embrace “flavor of the month” sales tactics. With so much information out there, the best ideas can get lost in the shuffle.
With that in mind, what’s the best way to plan a successful B2B client sales meeting? Here are six tips to make your next one a success.
1. Plan Well Ahead of Time
Set every meeting with a goal in mind. The most successful sales conversations start with a thorough agenda of what you’ll discuss—not set in stone, but to serve as a guide. Prospects feel much more comfortable buying from a salesperson who knows what they’re doing.
Understanding your ideal buyer persona will give you a general idea of what problems your prospect is likely dealing with, but do your homework to try to ascertain their more specific issues. During your conversation, ask probing questions to confirm or reassess your assumptions.
Preparing for the meeting and potential questions will help you and your potential client feel confident. Take time to create an idea of what you want to discuss and practice it. Develop smart questions that will get your prospect talking.
In addition, it helps your potential customers feel better about your future relationship. Client management can impact loyalty and retention, so a convincing meeting is vital.
2. Practice Punctuality
In sales (as in job interviewing), to be early is to be on time. Being punctual is crucial for a great sales meeting. It tells your client that you respect them and their time. It can also highlight how prepared you are.
Being late without notice may give the impression that you’re distracted and unfocused. Do your best to arrive on time—or better yet, early—whether it’s with your biggest client or your newest one. Getting there in advance will allow you to settle in before the meeting starts.
If you might be late for any reason, let the client know as soon as possible. Clear communication is another sign that you recognize the importance of meeting with them.
3. Prep Right Before the Meeting
Make sure you also take time before the meeting to review notes and prepare yourself. Recognize any anxiety triggers you may have and find ways to calm down. Nervousness can stress you so much that you lose focus, so be sure to do what you can to relax. Recognize that this fear can only hinder your success, and feel assured that you know what you’re doing. Practice and preparation are among the best ways to avoid anxiety.
Also, keep your attire professional. Clothing can affect how a potential client sees you, so simple things like ensuring your shirt stays tucked in are essential. How you dress shows others you are taking them and this meeting seriously.
4. Find Out What They Need
As early in the meeting as possible, ask clarifying questions. What are they looking for from your company? Are there solutions you require that previous companies couldn’t meet? What do you expect from those you hire?
No one likes to be “talked at.” Forcing your prospect to sit passively while you regurgitate every feature and benefit of your product is the surest way to lose the sale. Asking smart questions that get your prospect thinking and talking will keep them mentally engaged in your meeting.
Keep a notepad with you and take notes on their answers. Once you know what they’re looking for from you, you can find ways to integrate their wants into your presentation. Prepare yourself to address their unique needs.
5. Stay Within the Allotted Time
Cover the client’s requirements and your company’s offerings within a set time. Accomplishing both will help the customer feel like you’ve fully prepared for your time with them.
Asking smart questions shows you’ve taken the time to do your homework. Giving them the opportunity to speak will help them see you’re interested in more than just a sale. Plan for time to answer questions and create an environment that feels personal.
6. Follow Up
Only 2% of sales happen at the first meeting with a potential client. This means you should be following up with each one to pursue the other 98% of sales. If someone is still unsure after a few follow-up attempts, remain politely persistent.
It often takes about five touch points to finally convert the prospect. Marketers and sales professionals should remember that vigilance is key. However, it’s necessary to keep the customer interested without being forceful. Finding a healthy balance can help you secure more sales.
Plan Your Next Successful B2B Sales Meeting
Your sales team can make every conversation lucrative with an effective planning strategy. Prepping early, staying on track, and following through with leads can change the outcome of your presentations. Business developers can plan successful B2B sales meetings by following these effective tips.
Dylan Berger is a digital marketer and SEO at WebFX, where he writes about B2B and B2C marketing. He studied advertising in university but is a life-long student of philosophy, design and art.