A lot of work - time and money - goes in to getting a meeting with a prospective client.
You need to make the meeting count.
Here's a few tips to improve your success.
1. Understand your prospective client's situation, pain points and needs
Three important questions you should know before your meeting:
What's your client's situation?
What's their position? How long have they worked there? Can they make a buying decision? What made them take the meeting with you? What is the pain they are trying to solve? How big / important is solving this problem? What product, service, or in-house solution do they use today? What will make them say yes? What do they need to buy? What excites them?
You can find this information through other customers, online research, contact history and communication with the client ahead of the meeting.
Once you know this information, check that the meeting is worth having and you are meeting the right person!
2. Customize your pitch & presentation to the client
Start by drafting on paper the flow of your meeting. Use a flow which addresses the most important points for that client first and one that tells an interesting story.
Start the meeting by setting a clear agenda, but be prepared to release that agenda if the client has other things they want to talk about. If you don't, they won't truly take in what you are saying.
You don't need to create the whole slide deck from scratch every time. Use standard slides to address common questions and discussion points. Complement these with new slides to address the clients own situation.
Once it's together, run through the whole presentation and check it flows logically and makes a compelling case to the client.
3. Illustrate your most important points with great visuals
Visual depictions of ideas stick in your prospective client's mind. They also become things they want to share with other influencers and decision makers within their organisation.
Ensure your most important ideas are depicted graphically on a slide.
You can even print physical versions of these graphics for the client to share with their colleagues or find on their desk at some future point.
4. Finish with clear actions and timeline
Always finish a meeting with clear next steps for both you and your prospective client. Agree on timelines for the actions too.
Most people honour commitments they make in person, and if they don't, they will likely feel a pang of guilt and help you out next time.
Write the ideal set of actions and timelines in advance of the meeting - it's hard to come up with the right ones on the spot.
5. Follow up, ruthlessly
Always follow up with an email after the meeting.
Recap the agreed actions and timeline.
Attach the presentation, or key slides from it if you can. They will refer back to it and share with their colleagues.
Continue to follow up a few days and weeks later until you get the close you need.
A lot of work goes into gaining a sales meeting. Make sure it counts.
Understand your client's situation, pains and needs. Customize your pitch & presentation to the clientIllustrate your most important points with great visualsFinish with a clear actions and timeline. Follow up, ruthlessly.