Have We Met?

By Christine Neuberger

If you’ve been wondering why you’re not closing more sales, consider this: try viewing every contact with a client as a meeting. Why? Because good meetings produce. They accomplish work. Any sales calls conducted like well-executed meetings will close sales and keep reorders rolling in. When you consider every telephone call, client contact and sales call a meeting, you’ll spot more ways to move toward closing sales, says Jana M. Kemp, a speaker and expert in managing everyday business activities. Here are some strategies that Kemp suggests.

Know the purpose.
What’s the point of the client contact? To set up a meeting? To try to obtain a reorder? To round up more information? To focus on signing a contract? To service the account? The possibilities go on and on.

Map out the agenda.
Know the questions you need to get answered. Fully grasp the information you’ll provide to help the client make his or her decision. Try to limit a meeting to an hour.

Remember the basic elements.
Thank and introduce everyone in attendance. Outline what you’re trying to get accomplished. Summarize the questions you want to address and the information you’ll share. Discuss this with the customer. Agree on the next step. Sum up any agreement, the next actions you’ll take and their benefits to the customer. Confirm when you’ll call again. Thank everyone for the time spent.

Choose the meeting location carefully.
Pick the site that helps you reach your objective. A meeting site can speak volumes about your product, your organization and you. Does your company market formal products? A formal location might work well. Do you sell fun, entertainment or media? Try an informal site.

Restaurants can cut both ways.
Most eateries permit people to get acquainted. But is privacy a consideration? Ask for the restaurant’s private meeting room. Don’t overlook the menu and whether an attendee will find the offerings acceptable. You pick up the tab. The exception involves a governmental-entity client – ask about the correct way to handle the bill.

My place or yours?
An office setting works just fine for one-on-one get-togethers. The location offers easy access to information helpful to decision making. When the meeting involves three or more people, a conference room provides a good fit. Ditto for presentations requiring equipment or space. Do you want to help the customer understand your organization or offer a company tour? Use your conference room. Want to save the client time? Opt for the customer’s conference room if your meeting can occur successfully at his or her office.