Conducting a sales appointment

How do you increase the chances of winning business at a face-to-face sales appointment?

Many people believe that you need to be a salesperson to sell your products or services. However, sometimes, this stereotypical, chatty salesperson trait can be counterproductive. The key to a successful sales meeting is to listen to the client and directly answer how your product or service is the solution.

Here are our top tips on conducting an appointment, giving you the best chance of closing a sale.


Establish rapport

The first thing you should do in any meeting is to establish a foundation relationship with everyone in the room. Everyone knows you’re there to talk about your solution, so there’s no need to be too familiar, but remember people buy from people, so if there’s an opportunity to find common ground, use it.

The aim is to gently transition from this less formal conversation into the purpose for the meeting. Ideally, it should be seamless. A great way to do this is to talk about finding more time to engage in hobbies or spend time with the family – your solution can help.

TOP TIP: Keep an eye out for any personal items in the room. This could help break the ice. For example, they could have sports memorabilia on show. People love to talk about their hobbies.

Word of warning, don’t pretend to be knowledgeable about something you’re not. You don’t need to share the same interests. The purpose is to show genuine attention and get them to open up about their experience.

If there aren’t any personal items, why not mention the roadworks you probably sat in to get there? They probably have to sit in that every day!


Clarifying what their needs are

The key to a successful sales meeting is to position your solution, either product or service, as the means of solving their pain points.

You are never going to be able to do this effectively if you don’t know what these are specifically. So, you need to ask questions and truly understand what they are trying to achieve.

It’s best to avoid closed questions, those that invoke a “Yes” or “No” response. Instead, practice using open questions that invite people to provide a detailed answer. These type of questions usually start with ‘what, ‘when’ and ‘how’.

Finally, make sure you listen to their answers. Your objective is to investigate what one or two things are causing them the most pain. When it’s your turn to talk, your answers can then always refer back to how your product or service is the solution – this is how you establish value.


Talk about value, not cost

One of the most common stumbling blocks in a sales meeting is the cost, or price, of your product or service.

Some people are uncomfortable about giving a price, and you can see them physically shy away from talking about it. Others are happy to provide one, as they are confident that it is fair.

Regardless of the situation, it’s not about how you feel about the price. It’s always down to their perceived value of your solution. If you are providing a price without establishing value, the cost will almost always be too high.

So, how do you establish value? After you understand the pain points of your potential customer, you need to understand how much it costs them to work around their problems, or how these pains are preventing them from achieving growth.

Ideally, in understanding their pain cost, you want to get a financial figure from them. This can help you talk about your solution as being a fraction of the cost, or identify how you can add additional value and open new opportunities. Again, its always about the value to the client, not the price of the solution.

If you take this approach, you’ll find that you rarely ever talk about the actual price of your solution.


Always close

You might be familiar with the ‘Always Be Closing’ (ABC) sales technique. And while this does conjure images of ‘pushy’, perhaps unethical salespeople, it is a phrase you should remember for each meeting. 

In a sales meeting, everyone knows you’re there to sell, so there is no need to be afraid to ask for business. If you have established value, the close should flow naturally, and you can move from talking about how you can help to when you can start helping – this is an assumptive close.

The assumptive close can be a gentle way to establish a commitment by creating an easy way to start. A great way to achieve this is to get the diary out and pencil in a delivery date.

Finally, don’t fall at the last hurdle, get the paperwork over as soon as possible. Whether this is a quote, proposal or summary of your agreement, get it their hands as quickly as possible. Generally, people are busy, and as soon as you leave the meeting, they will get absorbed into other things, you don’t want the value you’ve just spent time establishing to diminish.

TOP TIP: A great way to keep at the forefront of a prospective clients mind is to send them a ‘thank you for your time’ email following a meeting. Why not create an email template in your email client to save you writing one each time. Here are some guides based on the most common email clients:


How ETC can help

If you need help turning your sales meetings from a conversation about price to one about value, please get in touch.

If you’re new to ETC, why not contact us for a free new business review? We’ll spend two hours with you, giving you professional coaching and will leave you with actions for immediate implementation.

This is the fourth in our sales series. If you haven’t already, you can read the others here:

  1. Sales starting point: Attitude
  2. The importance of a sales pipeline
  3. Preparing for a sales meeting