When I started in my current sales role I was in a unique position. In addition to the prospecting that was expected of me, I had an account base that I needed to maintain.
So when I was done with training and back home I had to hit the ground running. It was important for me to meet with my new customers as quickly as I could in order to introduce myself and become familiar with their account.
As an Account Executive, it’s important that I stay abreast of everything that is going on and be the CEO of my territory. This is also part of my TREAT method for prospecting which I mention in my Slideshare deck, Sales Prospecting Ideas.
I believe nothing should happen in my territory, with my accounts, without me knowing.
But with all the meetings I was setting up I knew I had to be organized and have a “plan of attack” to make each gathering as effective as possible.
So in my pursuit of being a sales pro, I came up with 10 rituals that I would follow before each meeting.
These ten rituals were intended to help me be more organized whether I rarely or consistently going on sales meetings.
Even if your sales style is different than mine, or you simply disagree with the below, it’s important to have some form of a pre-meeting plan before visiting a client or prospect.
If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d be happy to help you craft a plan specific to your situation.
As I mentioned above, these are MY best practices but I share them knowing that they can be modified to work for your situation.
My Ten Rituals include:
Now that you know the basic outline of what we’ll be talking about I want to go a little deeper into each item to better explain why these steps are crucial.
It is not uncommon for plans to change suddenly when you’re on your way to a meeting.
I once had a prospect meeting that required me to drive two hours to her office only to be called ten minutes before to cancel. That was a bummer.
But it could have easily been avoided had I called or emailed beforehand to confirm we were still on for the next day.
By simply reaching out you can ensure that any travel time necessary won’t be wasted.
Not only do you need to confirm that you are still on for the meeting, you need to confirm that you have the proper address and know who will be attending.
This is separate from simply confirming the meeting will take place because there is prep work involved after this step, specific to Ritual #9.
It’s important to do this because if you grabbed the address from their outdated website or your outdated CRM, you may have the incorrect location. I have a prospect I’ve been reaching out to who recently announced in a news article that they have moved to a different office location. I have yet to see their website updated with the new information.
It’s also important that you know who you’ll be meeting with.
The material you bring (see Ritual #5) should be catered to your audience. For example, if I knew the CFO will be attending the meeting I would likely bring along marketing material related more towards our financial modules. However, if I knew the Director of Property Management will be there I’ll be sure to bring information pertaining to multi-family and commercial property management. See the difference?
Staying up-to-date with your territory and accounts is an essential task for a top sales professional. Be sure to spend extra time researching your accounts immediately before a meeting. The morning of preferably.
That way you can bring it up during your conversation. They will appreciate that you stay in touch with the industry and their business.
Within my product offerings, there are a number of options available that customers can use. So when I go to a meeting I always bring marketing material relevant to their current situation and potential needs.
Within my industry, our product offerings can often be segmented into multi-family and commercial. And although many of our products are able to be used by both, some aren’t.
So if I am visiting a commercial property management company, I’ll bring marketing brochures for our commercial management product offerings. Same thing for the residential.
Because I sell software I often have to bring certain equipment with me. Specifically my laptop, my MiFi wireless hotspot, my projector, and sometimes my presentation remote (affiliate link - I love this thing…highly recommend).
And before every meeting I make sure every one of them is working. I check to make sure my laptop and MiFi are fully charged. I plug my projector in to make sure it is working properly and the bulb isn’t burned out (only problem I can think of happening with a projector). And I make sure that the presentation remote has working batteries (in addition to the spares I keep in my bag).
For me, equipment also means software. I often use WebEx for online meetings or to have one of the more technical software engineers call in and showcase the software. Before that happens I make sure that I’m able to log on without problems and that there won’t be any hiccups during my meeting.
Before every meeting, if you use equipment, software, or anything that would not work properly when it needs too, check to make sure that it is working before your meeting.
This one is pretty straightforward. Review your notes for the account or prospect.
The last thing you want is to miss or forget some detail from a previous conversation that the client thought was very important.
Not to mention that you want to make sure that you are up-to-date with everything that has happened in the account history.
This is where the salesperson in me comes out. For every meeting, I plan to bring up no less than three up-selling opportunities.
As mentioned before, if they are a commercial property management company, I’ll be sure to highlight our newest additions or upgrades to our commercial management portfolio.
For example, I was recently visiting one of my clients and was sure to bring up the mobile applications of our building operations module, Workspeed.
This was a new product offering since they had last been visited by a sales representative so it was a prime opportunity to talk about it with them.
The point is that prospecting with current clients is a lot easier to do than new logo accounts. Use every opportunity you have to up-sell them.
As I mentioned in Ritual #2, you want to make sure to get the address and attendees of your meeting so that you can send a follow-up letter to them.
You should already have a completed; pre-stamped envelope for each attendee addressed to their office with a small intro paragraph ready to go.
Once the meeting has concluded, finish the letter and throw it into your nearest mailbox. They’ll get it in two days and you’ll have one more reason to stand out from the crowd with them.
Lastly, plan out one or two takeaways from each meeting.
As I mention in my post series, Property Management Sales In Los Angeles, there’s something to be learned from every client interaction. Or if you’ve seen my SlideShare deck, Sales Prospecting Ideas, you know that you should ALWAYS get something out of every prospect contact.
For example, during that last client interaction where I highlighted Workspeed, my two takeaway plans were to test out a new delivery method for the building operation software and to get them to explore it further with a product demonstration.
I had already tried a few different ways of bringing it up in conversation and thought that there were still better ways to introduce it. So after brainstorming some ideas, I decided to try one of them out during the meeting.
There is always something that you can take away from a meeting. If you plan it out your delivery will be that much better because you won’t be fishing in the dark. You’ll know exactly what you want from the meeting.
If you have other suggestions for pre-meeting planning be sure to let me know in the comments below.
~ Johnny Bravo