In our last post in our guide to Sales Prospecting Success, we outlined the first step which is making a Cold Call. That step culminates in setting an appointment for a ‘First Meeting’. In this post, we will walk you through the steps of that First Meeting call with the goal of setting the next appointment and working towards closing a sale. 

During the Cold Call, there was NO selling involved. Your goal was to determine if, at the time of the call, you were speaking with the decision makers and to see if there was a need for your product or services. You were actively listening to their problem(s), evaluating their sense of urgency to fix those problems and you scheduled an appointment for the First Meeting. CONGRATULATIONS!  

Now, we will guide you, step by step, through that First Meeting.  

We suggest that the First Meeting take place over the phone and that it lasts approximately 30 minutes. On this call you will more closely explore the issues they are struggling with, position yourself as an expert in resolving their challenges and determine whether or not it is worth pursuing them as prospects.  Remember it’s about THEM not YOU.  You have begun to earn trust, don’t blow it now by going into ‘sell’ mode. 

Before the call 

One day before the call, you or someone on your team should confirm with the prospect that they are still planning to attend the meeting. Re-schedule if necessary. 

Prep for the call 

As we mentioned in Step One, be prepared for the call by having some info about the company, the prospect, any relevant data and case studies. Review their completed questionnaire and decide which questions you will ask. 

Phone only vs Zoom vs IPerson? 

We suggest a ‘phone only’ format for first meetings. This allows you to have your cheat sheet and any additional notes and stats available on your computer while on the call. But this is only a suggestion. Let the client’s needs and preferences drive the choice and be prepared either way! 

The call 

Open the call with a reiteration of the agenda. Make sure that this is still a good time to talk and that they have the time needed. 

One of 3 outcomes 

Explain to them that most follow-up calls like this have one of 3 outcomes: 

  • They realize it is not a good fit
    “If, after listening to what I have to share, you feel like this isn’t right for you, PLEASE let me know! I respect your time and would prefer to know this sooner than later.” 
  • You realize it isn’t a good fit. 
    “And I will do the same. I don’t want to waste your time or mine.” 
  • We both agree to proceed. 
    “And after our conversation today, we may realize that this could be the right solution and then we can take the next steps!” 

Let them know that whatever the outcome, you want to keep communication open and don’t want to waste anyone’s time. This will set you apart from all the salespeople they have probably dealt with in the past and set the stage for a more open and honest conversation.  

Mini ‘buy-in’ 

Get them to confirm that they are OK with the agenda and what you have proposed so far. These mini ‘buy-in’ steps help you know that you are on track, not wasting your time and will make a final close easier. 

Summarize 

Summarize what you heard on the initial Cold Call conversation and what you learned from questionnaire. This demonstrates that you have been listening, continues to earn you trust and allows you them to confirm you are on the right track. 

Ask and then LISTEN 

Ask probing questions to uncover the root of their pain. Ask about previous solutions and their outcome. Learn about what they have tried and what has worked, or not worked, for them. Essentially, you are trying to see what motivated them to have this conversation with you. 

Find out how long the problem has been going on. Ask how it has impacted their business. How has it impacted them personally? Ask, “how much money you are leaving on the table by not fixing this?” 

Continue? 

At this point you need to determine if this is a viable client. Do they believe in what you do? Is the timing right? Do they fit your YAVIS? (link to YAVIS post) 

Setting up the SECOND, meeting 

If there is mutual interest in taking next steps, ask them, “What would you like to have happen next?”. This ‘NEXT STEPS’ question is one we use to close ALL business conversations as it brings the prospect into the decision. 

Next steps 

The ‘Next Steps’ question should become a staple question in every sales call. An interested buyer will agree to a date and time for a SECOND meeting. 

We recommend holding that next meeting live or via Zoom or another web-based video software. This helps you to continue to build the relations and adds ‘the human touch’. Determine who the other decision makers are and request they join in that call/meeting. 

So, using a dating analogy, you have made it through the first date. You are not married yet but there is a second date lined up.  

In our next posts, we will address the NEXT steps in the Sale Prospecting process, the second and third meetings, overcoming objections, closing the sale and more.  

If you and your team need help with any of these steps, give us a call – we can train your people, role play and monitor their calls to bring them up to speed, to set more qualified appointments and close more sales!