The sales process
The sales meeting
The sales meeting is an opportunity to sell your product or service and establish a relationship with your potential client.
Know your customers
Thorough preparation is critical to achieving a good sales conversion rate. If you struggle to answer objections or queries or appear to be underprepared, you will almost certainly lose any potential sale.
Research the client and check their website and any advertising (including recruitment) that they are currently using. Look at other businesses in their industry and who their customers are.
Understand your competitors and what they offer.
Prepare a list of questions to ask your potential client, and use these to find any potential issues that your product or service could solve.
You can also conduct market research on your customer. See market research and market reports.
Make a good impression
Before you arrive:
- call the client to check they are still expecting you
- check your travel arrangements
- go through your presentation - make sure it is interesting, relevant and to the point
- check you have all your documentation including a hard copy of your presentation (in case technology fails) and any handouts
- if using presentation technology, check your laptop battery is fully charged and pack any leads and cables
Once you have arrived, you will often be asked to wait in the reception area. This is a good opportunity to make your final preparations:
- switch off your mobile phone
- check your appearance if possible
- make sure your documentation is organised and easily accessible
Once your contact appears, stand up and establish eye contact immediately. Introduce yourself and remind them of the name of your business and why you are there. Also, take this opportunity to thank your contact for their time.
When the meeting starts:
- introduce yourself to any other participants
- ask how business is
- outline the structure and intended length of the meeting, checking they are happy for you to take notes
- tell them that you intend to ask them for their business at the end of the discussion
If you need to set up equipment, eg a laptop, try to maintain the conversation while doing so, to avoid breaking any rapport that has been established.
Your presentation should focus on:
- introducing your business and its products or services
- outlining the key benefits of using your business
- addressing any potential objections you think the client might have
It should provide the potential client with an overriding set of reasons to buy your product or services.
While making the presentation, remember that it is just as important to use your listening skills to pick up any useful pieces of information. Have a list of general and specific questions to ask during your presentation.
Support your arguments with relevant facts and figures, and highlight any existing customer testimonials that you have.
You will begin to sense how the presentation is going by the level of questioning and the client's general demeanour. If they appear to be very interested at this stage, you could move on to the next stage of the sales process. For more information, see negotiate and close the sale.