So, You had a Pleasant Meeting...Great News (or is it?)
When we set up calls with prospects for our clients, we end up spending tons of time helping them with pre-call planning and post call debriefs. After all, meetings are hard to get and we want to make sure we get the most out of them, While having post call discussions, we see one problem that needs to be diagnosed time after time, and that is being able to tell the difference between a pleasant meeting and a productive one.
Post meeting, all too often we ask “So, how did the meeting go?”. Since it’s human nature to be optimistic, most of the time they say something like “The meeting was great! We were supposed to meet for 30 minutes and they stuck around for 60. We chatted about their needs, how we can help and oh, by the way, the decision maker went to the same college as me! We are totally going to win this business.” I’ll say, sounds awesome, what’s the next step? To that the reply may sound something like, “they are going to meet with a few vendors and get back to me.”
Guess what? You just had a pleasant meeting....Don’t get me wrong, I love having pleasant meetings. I’m a people person and enjoy getting to know folks...what they like, what they dislike and any commonalities between my life and theirs. For me, it’s one of the most fulfilling parts of sales. The problem is, pleasant meetings don’t win business; Productive ones do!
Want to know if you had a productive meeting or a pleasant one? Ask yourself the following questions and be honest with the answers:
What is my next step? Do I have one? If so, what is it? (Waiting for them to get back to you is not a next step)
Does the prospect have any homework they need to accomplish? What is it?
Did you set up the next time you are supposed to speak?
If you did set up the next meeting, did you agree on a time and a place?
Have you sent out the calendar invite for the designated time and place? (for extra credit, did you include your next steps and the review of those next steps as part of the agenda in your calendar invite?)
If you follow these steps, the next time you are asked how did the meeting go, the answer will sound more like….The meeting was great. We gained agreement on their needs and how we can meet them. We have to get them X,Y and Z and they have to get us A and B. Our next meeting to discuss all these items is next Tuesday at 2 in their office. The calendar invite has been sent to all stakeholders along with the agenda so we all know what has been assigned and we have a time that “homework” is due so we can discuss and move on to next steps.
Be purposeful about all the steps above. Be honest with yourself about the answers. If you do, you will have more successful outcomes, have a more accurate assessment of what’s in your pipeline and have more time to spend on opportunities that you have a chance of winning.