Select your preferred player below to subscribe now:
About This Episode
Whether you’re a millennial or not, we’re simply more comfortable texting, emailing, social selling, and more in today’s day and age. While those methods are very effective, there’s no method more effective than looking someone in the eyes and building a relationship.
Tom Alaimo, sales manager at TechTarget, figured out early on in this career that he needed to learn more about his customers if he was going to get serious about meeting more of them in person. He needed to know what they read, what they think about, and their lingo in order to build stronger in-person interactions.
So he started listening to podcasts, reading blogs, and trying to learn everything he could about the entire space he was selling to so that he could sound informed when he walked into a room. Despite being “young” and having less experience, when you do your homework, you can have the confidence within yourself that you provide value.
He told us that becoming an expert is about trying to get a little better each time; getting a lit bit closer. You’re not going to go from knowing nothing to knowing everything overnight. But after the 5th, 10th, 20th meeting, you start to see signs that what you say is impacting someone. You notice how you get more comfortable answering their questions as well.
Tom advises not to shy away from asking questions when your customer mentions a topic you don’t quite understand. Don’t be afraid to let your customer teach you something; they appreciate you being honest. It shows that you’re willing to learn and be educated by them.
But at the end of the day, do more homework than your customer expects. If the company is public, go through their 10-K report, listen to their earnings call, read their content, learn more about their business than they know. So you may not know all the acronyms and processes but at least when you come to the table, they can tell you did your homework.
The rest will come with time.
Why Face-to-Face Meetings Are Just Better
Face-to-face meetings are especially especially important when you have a longer sales cycle or you’ve had a few calls with them before. This allows you an opportunity to read their body language and get an idea for how they feel about you.
If they’re a long-term customer, step into their office and get a sense for what their culture is like. Getting to know someone in person is so different from getting to know someone over the phone.
The great thing about meeting someone in person is that it also makes it harder for them to ignore future emails from you, for them not to take your calls, for them to lie to you; it helps endorse a more honest conversation.
Your virtual communication becomes more powerful when you supplement it with in-person conversations.
Five Tips to Nail Your Next Sales Meeting
Do the prep.
Don’t forget about all the small things like knowing the name of everyone who will be in the room before it starts and making sure the AV is working properly.
Keep it simple.
Have as few slides as possible and as few words on the slides as possible. Your goal should be to look at the people in the room as much as possible and observe their body language. It will help you understand how they’re receiving your message. You also don’t want them to just watch a screen the whole time, you want them to engage with you.
Know your first line.
Know exactly how you want to kick off the meeting when you’re ready to go. Have a one-liner and say it with authority and confidence. And don’t forget to let people know you’re there for a reason. Remember, you’re the quarterback of the deal.
Precise language is really important, both verbally and in your body language.
If someone is losing interest, engage them by asking questions like: what do you think about that? Would this work within your process? If someone isn’t engaged, you’re either going to lose the sale in the room or you’ll lose it later because they weren’t paying attention.
And, of course, you have to end the meeting strong. Thomas advises to come into the room knowing the one thing you want your potential customer to take away from the meeting.
It’s important to keep an eye on the time. If you notice there are only 10 minutes left and you haven’t gotten to that one thing yet, stop and get there. Being cognizant of the time goes back to being the quarterback of the sale.
Finally, leave them with clear next steps; let them know what you owe them and what they owe you. Follow up the same day to thank them, get them everything they need asap, and just be in constant communication. Bonus points for a handwritten note!
Nailing a sales meeting is an art. But when you build relationships, the sales become more natural. And the best way to build relationships is by making time for those face-to-face meetings. You won’t be sorry.