The key to a successful sales appointment is to listen to the client’s pain points and directly outline how your product or service is the best value solution.
Many people believe that you need to be good at talking to sell your products or services. However, sometimes, the stereotypical, chatty salesperson trait can be counterproductive. Instead, to increase the chances of winning business from a sales appointment, you should concentrate on developing your listening and processing skills.
Here are our top tips on how to improve your sales appointment technique and give yourself the best chance of closing a sale.
The first thing you should do in any meeting is to establish a relationship with everyone in the meeting – even if it’s a video call. Of course, everyone knows you’re there to talk about your solution, so there’s no need to be too familiar. Still, it helps if you showed interest in topics unrelated to the purpose of your meeting, such as their weekend activities, families or interests outside of work. 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 of the meeting. Ideally, this transition 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. However, 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.
Clarifying what their needs are
In every sales appointment, you need to position your solution as a means of solving their pain points.
If this is the first meeting, ensure you fully understand what they’re trying to achieve. This is also the time to validate any prior research done during your meeting preparation.
If this is a follow-up meeting, ensure you outline the key talking points from the last meeting and the purpose of this meeting. This helps to set expectations and remind everyone why you are there.
When asking questions, avoid closed questions that invoke a “Yes” or “No” response, and instead, practice using open questions that invite people to provide a detailed answer. These types of questions usually start with ‘what, ‘when’, and ‘how’.
Finally, make sure you really listen to their answers. When it’s your turn to talk, your answers will be much more factual, and it will be easier to directly link back to how your product or service is the solution to their pain – this is how you establish value.
Talk about value, not cost
One of the most common stumbling blocks in a sales meeting is your product or service’s cost.
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 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 provide a price without establishing value, the cost will almost always be too high. So, how do you demonstrate value?
After you understand the pain points of your potential customer, you need to know how much it costs them to work around their problems or how these pains prevent them from achieving growth.
Ideally, you want to get a financial figure from them to understand their pain cost. This information can help outline how your solution is a more cost-effective option or identify how it can add additional value and open up new opportunities. Again, it’s 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.
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 called 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 in 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.
TOP TIP: A great way to keep at the forefront of a prospective client’s 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 on how to create a template for 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 are 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.