Business owners understand only too well that sales are as much an art as a science. Distilled down to its essence, sales comprise a few simple activities such as sales meetings that should be performed consistently and consummately. Moreover, a sale is essentially a linear process, where activities happen sequentially, one at a time.
Before you can make a sale, you need to secure a meeting.
To book more sales meetings, think of it as a three-phase process:
1. Reflecting on the situation
2. Consider the contact and
3. Review the nature and depth of the relationship.
5 Key Steps To Booking More Meetings
Think quality not just quantity.
Think about securing meetings with the potential to lead to the right relationships to step-change your business’ growth trajectory. The sales cycle can be defined a number of ways, however, here are five key steps to forging your own influential network:
1. Deliver Value
Value allows you to redefine your pitch to differentiate yourself from your competitors, while making meaningful connections. The objective is never to bribe or coerce a contact into meeting with you, rather, to provide something of value for your contact. It should reflect your brand personality but without a pitch component.
Initially, simply look to create a rapport, which could potentially lead to a relationship. Establish that rapport and position yourself as an authoritative source. Leverage some universal assumptions to open that sales window, based on desires and motivations common to many business owners. Most want greater success, recognition, and a legacy or even financial rewards.
2. Dangle A Value Pipeline
A smart sales representative always has another card to play. Once your initial value offer is welcomed, it’s sound strategy to offer an additional incentive for taking the tentative meeting. White papers, research, a free service are all meeting-friendly ideas.
Positioning yourself as a source of added value aids the relationship building process and solidifies your positioning by extending the lure of added value for your contact’s role in their organization.
3. Work With The EA Or Secretary
Many sales professionals try quite hard to get around the executive assistants, viewing them as gatekeepers or obstacles to be overcome. That is rarely a smart strategy. Many EAs are actually spotters always looking for interesting opportunities their busy executives may otherwise miss.
In many instances, EAs are happy to be helpful.
Always be polite and thank them for their help with a thoughtful gift. Whatever option you prefer make sure it demonstrates your gratitude for their assistance.
4. Securing A Meeting
Organizing a meeting can prove painful for all as everyone attempts to coordinate schedules. You can either undergo the UAE’s’ usual death of a thousand cuts during the calendar shuffle or adopt a smart productivity tool like ScheduleOnce, Assistant.to, Calendly, or TimeTrade to get your meeting on your contact’s calendar.
x.ai is an artificial intelligence powered tool that arranges meetings via email, from your first request through to confirming the final meet time and venue on the participant’s calendars.
5. Build Rapport, Never Pitch
Once you have a meeting arranged, show the patience to hold a preliminary fact-finding conversation rather than diving in with a pitch. Demonstrate your awareness of their issues or market position while gathering the insights you need to fine-tune your proposal.
Never plunge into a meeting with the assumption that your pitch is right the first time!
Take the opportunity to explore your contact’s thinking, enjoy a conversation and confirm your direction.
3 Tips To Refine Your Call Technique
1) Disarm Resistance:
All potential customers are busy.
Sales representatives with the highest meeting rates acknowledge this up front as they introduce themselves. Disarming your contact redirects their attention onto you.
2) Call Purpose:
While every sales representative understands the outcome of a first call is to set up an appointment, few, however, actually ask for an appointment.
After you have disarmed prospect, go to the purpose of the call and ask for 20 to 30 minutes of their time. Why 20 or 30 minutes? This length of time indicates your meeting is important. Anything less than five or 10 minutes shows your purpose is not important
3) Finish With A Question:
End your call with a specific question.
If you ask a question, it usually receives an answer. IF your contact doesn’t answer the questions go back to the beginning.
Plan Your Sales Meeting
- Never go into a sales meeting without a plan for that meeting.
- Always map out the key bullet points as a checklist before and after each sales call to ensure you cover all your questions.
- Never walk out of a sales meeting with a question unanswered or a product opportunity untested.
Learn To Live With Rescheduling
In the UAE, having to constantly reschedule meeting is part of the business culture. Around 30% of meetings, on average, get shuffled or result in a ‘no-show.’ This is simply part of the glorious sales meetings experience; so don’t allow yourself to be discouraged.
Remember, it is all about the mathematics of a meetings pipeline.
You are not arranging a qualified sales meeting, simply changing the context around your initial pitch opportunity. Always focus on persuading your prospect to re-commit their time.
In the Middle East environment, cold calling can yield one appointment for every 30 to 40 contacts, producing three potential proposals out of every ten preliminary meetings.
Shifting the context of your cold-call interaction from pitching your product to establishing rapport during a meeting can increase your businesses ability to book more sales meetings by more than 20%, so it is well worth persevering with.
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Helping your sales team book more meetings often involves creating a simple yet structured process for your sales representatives to improve their success rates. Selling is a profoundly simple combination of art and scientific structured process, which can be mastered by anyone with sufficient discipline and determination. Getting that first meeting is a challenge, which can benefit from a consistent approach to maximize your investment of time on your prospects that have the highest probability of delivering a beneficial outcome for your business.