7 Tips for Successful Sales Meetings

I recently came across the infographic (below), “Don’t Suck At Meetings” and had to share it along with 7 Tips For Successful Sales Meetings:

1.  Make Sr. Management participation optional unless they need to be there

While you might ultimately need buy-in from the CEO, COO or SVP to get the deal done, if their participation isn’t required to meet a specific meeting goal, make it optional for them to join.  Ask account contacts to describe who makes various decisions in the buying cycle so you know when more expensive employees need to be in the meeting.  Also, remember your value to your company as well.  Make sure the meetings you participate in have clear goals and the right decision-makers to authorize next steps so you’re not wasting company dollars.

2.  Keep it concise

You’ll likely get more meetings and accomplish more if you keep meetings to 15-30 minutes.  Doing so, along with clearly articulating the goals of the meeting in advance will not only be more productive than longer meetings, but will also demonstrate to a prospect that you are professional, courteous and efficient.

3.  Listen

Speak less than half the time and when you do speak, ask open questions that uncover needs and lead to achieving the meeting goal.

4.  Follow up with concise collateral (with next steps)

Follow up with collateral that gives an overview of what you discussed, what you accomplished in the meeting and what you understand the next steps to be.  Ask for participants feedback and/or buy-in on what was accomplished and the next steps.

5. Present a follow up date and time

If a follow up call is part of the next steps, assign a date and time.  Try to make it within 24 hours of the meeting.  Ask participants for their feedback/buy-in on this as part of the next step.

6.  Structure emails to be easily read with clear ownership of next steps

This isn’t on the infographic, but it’s a great trick that I learned from my production team.  Bold names of the people who are responsible for next steps and create separate paragraphs for each “assignment.”  People read through emails pretty quickly and if someone “misses something” it can delay the sales cycle.  Here’s an example:

[Contact names]:

Great chatting with you today.  Thank you all so much for your time and participation.  Our goal for the meeting was to establish whether [Your Company’s Solution] was a fit for [Prospect’s Need] and I think we can all agree that our XYZ solution is a good match.  As I understand it, our next steps are to determine whether there’s  budget to get started this quarter and to see if my team can implement by month end.  Please feel free to respond if I’ve missed anything.

Bob:  I’ll send you the cost proposal under a separate cover later today.  Let’s you and I huddle up for 5 minutes tomorrow to make sure everything is in order.  I’ll go ahead and send a meeting request for 10am tomorrow, please feel free to reply with an alternate time, as needed.

Mary:  I’m happy to have my team review your project schedule to confirm we can deliver by month end.  My team is available at 11am tomorrow, so I’ll go ahead and hold that time so we can review the schedule together.  Let me know if later in the afternoon works better for you, we can also meet at 2pm.

We should have everything in place by end of day tomorrow, so I’ll go ahead and send a tentative meeting invitation to regroup on Friday at 11am.  Regards,

[Your Name]

7.  Send those LinkedIn invitations

According to the inforgraphic, more than three out of every four professionals will accept a LinkedIn invitation.  Connecting on LinkedIn is a great way for prospects to learn more about you and see who you have in common – not to mention a great way to broaden your network.



About Tom Meriam
Tom has delivered winning advertising and marketing programs for B2C and B2B companies ranging from locally-focused small businesses to enterprise corporations. He helped launch the first SMS-based reality show social media voting platform, published the magazine for California's oldest wine region and helped dozens of software company sales and marketing departments manage their revenue cycles more effectively.

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