Your meeting date and time has been established. You’re confident your product or service is superior to your competitors. Your goal for the meeting is to convince the prospect. You’ve planned to be there for 45 minutes.
The prospect checks their calendar and realizes a few minutes before that, they’ve scheduled a meeting with some salesperson and they’re not sure of the relevance today. They’re wondering why they agreed to the meeting and plan to make it short. They’ll ask a few questions, get a brochure or sample and usher the salesperson out the door saying “they’ll get back” to them. Fifteen minutes maximum and they’ll be able to get back to what’s important in their day.
It’s apparent from the two scenarios that the salesperson and the prospect each have a different agenda. Can you imagine what the outcome of the meeting will be? Have you ever found yourself wondering why there are two different agendas for the same meeting? Did you both agree to the same thing?
Let’s diagnose where things may have gone wrong.
- The appointment was scheduled without a clear intention of what each side was hoping to accomplish.
- The amount of time allocated to meet was not established or may have been, however has now changed on the prospect’s side.
- The real purpose of the meeting was unclear.
- An agreed upon outcome was not discussed prior to the meeting.
In other words, it’s like showing up at the dentist for a cleaning and he’s ready to perform a root canal.
The Sandler Selling System refers to the concept of establishing an agenda for every interaction with a prospect as an Up-Front Contract. It means prior to the meeting knowing what both parties are planning to accomplish in the time they are together. A mutually agreed outcome is established.
Following are the components of an agenda:
- Establish a mutually agreed purpose for the call or meeting.
- Find out what’s important for the prospect. What are they hoping to achieve in the time you’re together.
- Share with the prospect what you as a salesperson would like to accomplish on the phone or in the meeting.
- Agree to a specific time you’ll spend together and reconfirm when you arrive at the meeting.
- Determine at the beginning of the meeting or telephone conversation what you both mutually agree will happen at the conclusion of your time together.
Establish on the phone what will happen at the meeting and once at the meeting, reiterate what you both agreed to. This gives the prospect the opportunity to share any changes that may have to be made such as now only having 30 minutes vs the originally planned 45 minutes. You can adjust your meeting accordingly or reschedule if desired.
Just like being in the dentist’s chair, you don’t want any surprises when you are face-to-face with a prospect. Being disarmingly honest with the prospect and letting them know up-front what is going to happen in the time you’re together will save time, eliminate the prospect from giving you a vague response as to what happens next and it will move the selling process forward or conclude there isn’t a fit for your product or services. And set another up-front contract at the meeting as to what happens next.
What will you do prior to your next call or meeting?
Mutually agreeing to what happens every step of the way ensures that you aren’t surprised at the outcome.