5 rules to managing a successful initial sales meeting
It all begins with a sales meeting
As a small business owner, your initial business meeting with a potential client, may be the only opportunity you will get to present your business and sell your services. In many instances this is a ‘make or break’ meeting.
Before you schedule your next initial sales meeting consider the following five essential rules of successfully managing the meeting and learn some useful responses to give you control, beginning with:
RULE ONE: YOU manage the meeting
When you manage the meeting the client remembers your answers.
When the client manages the meeting the client remembers their questions.
In practice this means that you alone must control the meeting and steer it in a direction that enables you to discover the clients’ needs while presenting what your business can offer in a clear and concise fashion.
RULE TWO: A sales meeting is NOT a court of law
You are under NO obligation to answer all the clients’ questions or answer any question fully!
This means that you provide an overview of what you do and what you offer, but you are under no obligation to provide full disclosure of your business practices or secrets.
Which brings us to rules to help you better manage your sales meetings and help you overcome initial sales objections and resistance, with our next rule:
RULE THREE: Talk VALUE not money!
Nearly every potential client’s first question is always about cost. WHY? In many cases it is the only tangible subject the potential understands. She/he may not understand what you will actually do for them or how you will carry it out; but they can understand the difference between 10 NIS and 1,000 NIS.
Shift the talk from money to value: how your services/products will benefit the potential client; improve, simplify or enhance them in some way. But shifting the conversation should not feel like you are avoiding the topic of cost. Lower the potential’s anxiety level and reassure them using a line such as: “I will send you a written price quote with all my details after the meeting – first let’s talk about what you need and how I can answer those needs.”
Next, I’d like to take an ax to the appalling statement: “If you have to ask the price you can’t afford it”. If you provide services to other businesses, this statement is absolutely ridiculous. Businesses need to invest in their businesses and they need to know how much things cost – BUT – they need to understand the value of the services offered before they make a quick knee-jerk reaction that a given-service is too expensive.
Keep in mind, that if once the money is on the table – the CONVERSATION STOPS and the client starts to compare prices and all hopes of talking value are crushed.
RULE FOUR: Don't help the competition
We all have competition. Competition means we are in a worthwhile industry. But never disrespect the competition. And never list the competition, if potentials want to know who else provides your
services – let them Google it!
Take the conversation back to YOUR value and you can use a line similar to this: “I work in an incredible field with lots of competition. Now let’s get back to what you need and how I can give it to you.”
RULE FIVE: NEVER share how you build your pricing structure with your clients – potential or current.
This iron-clad rule applies to all meetings, follow-ups and even if your prices are advertised online. Repeat after me: “The road to hell is begins with explaining your pricing structure”.
Just a note of clarification before I talk about this danger: your pricing structure is not your price quote. Your price quote should be clear, concise and spell out in detail what you offer, how much it costs and an extra costings. A pricing structure is the process or the approach you used to develop your pricing, which should include time, materials and the like.
No matter what business you are in, whether you provide services or products to other businesses or to private clients, your pricing structure is your secret. Let me give you a few examples of how quickly divulging this information brings you to the gates of business hell.
Say you are a house painter and you have a set price for painting an up to 100-meter apartment. Divulging how you calculated this price – amount of paint, work hours, other work materials – will steer you down a slippery slope where people will inevitably nickel and dime you by saying this apartment is only 78 meters, or there are a lot of windows and not many walls. These discussions do not end well.
Say you provide a range of services that you outsource to other service providers; in this case you take on extra risks that need to be calculated into the cost, such as bringing in supplementary help on projects or even switching a service provider if they are not successful. These types of calculations are part of your business which does not need to be divulged to clients.
No matter what type of business you run and no matter type of clientele you have, you need to understand the basics of managing a business meeting to achieve success in building your business and moving forward.
Do you want to open yourself to a more successful business? Are you lost in the social media jungle? Let me help you re-energize your business and rediscover your passion in your profession. We’ll work together to improve your marketing strategy and online exposure and find the perfect target markets for your business. Contact me today to schedule a free introductory meeting.
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