In our last article, we discussed the importance of a strong opening to a professional sales call. Now we will talk about what comes next: the discovery or investigative part of the meeting. I call first meetings “high impact conversations” and define them in this way:
“High Impact Conversations are all about having a positive impact on your customer’s business. That impact should drive your customer towards the achievement of stated goals, lessening or eliminating the significance of their challenges.”
Your goal for a first meeting is to learn how you can help your prospect and his company in some impactful way that garners their business a measurable result. Business is about results: moving the “needle” in a positive direction.
A great way to open this second phase of the sales call is to begin by asking a “knowledge question.” This will set the tone for a professional discussion about your prospect’s company, and not result in you spewing all sorts of information about your products that has the prospect yawning and thinking, “This guy knows nothing about my company.” Start with something like this:
“I was reading in Manufacturer’s Monthly that your industry is going through an AI revolution. What has that meant to your company vis a vis your competitors?”
This will lead to a very interesting discussion from which you can build. Your objective is to learn the company’s goals (or contact’s department) for the coming 12-24 months, and then move the discussion into inherent challenges impeding the achievement of those goals. It’s a business discussion that will be successful when you find out how you can best help this company. If you can’t help them in some sort of impactful way…get out! You’re not there to sell just anything anytime, you’re there to help this company and if you can’t do that, I always say, “You have no business selling them anything!”
You should also learn what they expect from a successful relationship with you, and how you will measure the outcome of your work together in terms of a business result that they are trying to achieve. And finally, a successful discovery or investigation of this nature will include you learning what it will take to earn their business. So qualify this opportunity in terms of timing, decision process, the “fit” of your solution, and budget.
If you ever need help in having more impact conversations with your prospects, let us know. You can reach us at Linda@TheKernGroupInc.com or 416-520-4897.