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January 12, 2022

How (and Why) to Write a Meeting Summary

By John Flannery, President, Flannery Sales Systems

Ideally, when you’re involved in a sales call, you will get into conversations with buyers that offer opportunities to discuss many things, including their primary business objectives (PBOs), challenges they face, and the capabilities your organization offers to help them. However, in many circumstances, you won’t be able to cover all parts of the “discovery map” in one call, as time may have been limited, you were missing a key stakeholder, or you had to focus the agenda on one area for longer than anticipated. While running out of time in the first meeting might seem like a negative, it can actually create an opening for you to keep the sales process active and moving forward.

If after that initial call you think there’s an opportunity to re-engage the prospect at a future date—such as delivering a capabilities presentation or speaking to another key decision-maker—you’ll need to be able to clearly and concisely communicate what was discussed in the first meeting. This is where a meeting summary comes in. In this post, we’ll explore the key components of a meeting summary and how to leverage it as a tool in the sales process.

Setting the stage for the summary

Before you end a face-to-face meeting or call with any of the sales leaders you are engaging with, let them know that you plan to send them a summary of your discussion. Ask for their feedback on the summary as well as a time to meet to discuss next steps. This not only lets them know to expect the summary, but it also engages them by asking for their input and paves the way for a follow-up meeting.

How to write your meeting summary

A typical outline for a meeting summary includes the following components although this should be determined primarily by how much information you learned during the first meeting. The summary should include only the parts covered in your initial meeting and leave the open items as next steps.

  • Salutation
  • Expression of gratitude for their time on the initial call
  • Identification of primary business objectives
  • Challenges they are facing in reaching the objective and the impact of those challenges (financial and others)
  • Capabilities that would address the challenges (meaning your solutions or offerings) and the value that the capabilities would provide
  • The timeline for the implementation of a solution
  • Other key players who would need to be involved
  • The budget that has been established for the project
  • A clear request to schedule the next meeting
  • A request that the recipient respond in writing to the meeting summary

Make it a habit to follow up after each important sales call or meeting with a meeting summary. It will let your prospects know that you clearly understand their needs—or clarify if you don’t—and it will keep the sales momentum going. If you’re concerned that writing these summaries after each meeting will be time-consuming, dedicate some time to creating several different templates (such as meeting type, client industry, etc.) with a standard format and content to repurpose for similar meeting summaries for other clients.

Want to learn more about meeting summaries and how sales process and training can drive predictable revenue? Schedule a 15 -minute free conversation here. To learn more about Flannery Sales Systems, visit our website at drive-revenue.com.

Headshot of John E. Flannery

Today's blog post is by John E. Flannery, President of Flannery Sales Systems.