No matter how long you have been a Professional Salesperson, there’s a certain amount of anticipation and tension before a call with a new potential client. You want to be at your best as first impressions will dictate your future with this new customer. How can you put your best foot forward? We’re sharing with you what we’ve shared with our sales training clients in Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria.
This is the key to minimize your nervousness or apprehension. With online resources at your disposal, it has never been easier or more effective to do your homework. Walking into the appointment well prepared and researched accomplishes many things.
It shows you are a professional. It confirms to the client that you aren’t interested in wasting their time asking questions that could have been answered easily online. It also builds rapport and impresses a decision maker. Most definitely, it eases any tensions you may have about the meeting. Nothing is more intimidating than not knowing much about your new potential client and buyer.
Two Valid Business Reasons
Most Professional Salespeople are usually meeting with business owners for one of two reasons:
- To increase their company’s revenue growth.
- To help them reduce their operating expenses, save them time or make them operate more efficiently to do their job better.
Get in the Mind of your Customer
What do they need to experience to have a positive first meeting with you? Rapport is the initial feeling required to establish trust and eventually respect. Understand that your potential new client needs to buy you first before they even consider purchasing your product or service.
What’s the first step?
Go to the company’s website. Read everything in the navigation bar. Comb through every page and pay attention to areas that might be potential discussions points. Photo galleries and FAQ sections show the character and nature of the company. Start the meeting with this question:
“I’ve spent time on your website getting familiar with your company. Do you feel its a good representation of your company and what you have to offer potential customers?”
If you get a No answer, ask this question:
“Where does it fall short? What is missing that you’d like to see there?“
A yes answer should lead to this question:
“Here’s what I learned from your website. Please correct if I’m off base at all.”
Cover what you feel are the four most important points you learned about the company on their website.
“Is there anything else important that you’d like to add?”
You will be shocked at what you’ll hear.
“I should let you know that we will be announcing the launch of a new product shortly.”
“We are opening a new office in a area hoping to establish a new revenue stream.”
“We are going to rebrand the company shortly with a new logo and focus on customer service.”
These comments can fast track your Customer Needs Analysis and dig deep down to find the true areas of focus in your first call.
Your Next Step
Don’t stop with the company’s website. Google the name of the company and place the word “news” after their name. Leverage the power of search engine optimization to best prepare. Recent company announcements for publicly traded or privately owned companies are easily available this way.
You’re not done yet!
Now comes the fun part. Assess the digital footprint of your decision maker. Google their name and see what comes up. Press releases may mention their name revealing valuable information on their role and activities within the company. One of the most useful tools in your digital footprint analysis is their LinkedIn profile.
Many key decision makers have profiles established. I’m finding that many people are spending far more time on their LinkedIn profiles for more than just future employment opportunities. They are using LinkedIn to network and reach out to establish working business relationships.
Read their entire Profile
Look for their current roles and responsibilities with the company. Notice their employment background and field of related expertise. Check out any written testimonials or endorsements they have. I can assure you that this is time well spent. Ten minutes on their LinkedIn profile will reveal much more about the person you’re meeting with than just their title suggests.
Here’s something I do every time and it always has a positive first impression. Connect with them by sending a personal initiation to connect. Not the generic one! Customize it like this:
“Hi Jennifer. I’m looking forward to our meeting tomorrow and thought I would reach out to you on LinkedIn to connect. I noticed that you (personal observation and comment from their LinkedIn profile). See you at 9:30 am.”
Start your meeting by making reference to their LinkedIn Profile (and thanking them for connecting with you if so). You have just found an initial icebreaker to start the conversation while still staying on professional ground.
How much time does this all take?
Please don’t tell yourself that you don’t have the time to invest 30 minutes in this kind of research. With these easy steps, you have the opportunity to leverage the meeting to go further than if you started from ground zero. You decide.
Ask yourself this
If you were the decision maker, would you be impressed if someone did this amount of research on you and your company? What other ways do you best prepare for a first meeting with a new client? I’d love to read your comments below.
If any of my readers are attending the BCAB conference in Whistler from May 28th – 30th I will be speaking on May 29th and will see you there!
If you’d like more information on your training services, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dave Warawa PROSALESGUY
PROSALESGUY TRAINING offers Group and Individual Sales Training, Sales Management Mentoring and Consultation, and Business Consulting Services in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. Training can be done on site or via web conferencing.