I hope you are not one of those people who are still asking the question, “What keeps you up at night?” Back in the old days, that may have been a reasonable question to ask but, today, it is just plain wrong, not to mention damaging to your credibility. Avoid lame sales questions and show the client that you are prepared for the meeting and that you value their time.
By asking “What keeps you up at night?” the client could jump to conclusions and assume that you did little to no research to learn more about them or their industry. Now there are those who prepare and those who do not. Let’s look at both scenarios.
You show up prepared
- You have reviewed their website to familiarize yourself with their corporate culture and key goals and strategies.
- You have listened to their most recent analyst call.
- You have checked LinkedIn to see if you have any connections to people you are meeting with or ascertain if you have anything in common.
- You have reviewed industry trend information to gain additional insight into what the executive may be wrestling with.
- You prepare a call/meeting plan ensuring you have thought through a desired outcome, know how you want to open the conversation, and have a handful of open-ended questions ready.
- If there is someone else joining you for this call/meeting, you take the time to prep them on all you have learned, explain each of your roles, and agree on who should be asking which questions, and who should handle specific objectives.
- You think through what the possible objectives could be and come up with how to resolve or anticipate other questions you may need to ask to fully understand the objective.
- You execute flawlessly and get the outcome you wanted from the meeting, with your questions answered – plus much more. And, you have set specific next steps and a date to take things to the next level.
You show up unprepared
- The majority of the above is not done.
- You make assumptions based on like type clients.
- You brief your co-worker as you are heading to the meeting.
- And you ask that dreaded question – what keeps you up at night?
You only get one chance to build your credibility. When you get that meeting set up, ensure you prepare for the specific individual(s) and use everyone’s time wisely.
Janice Mars, principal and founder of SalesLatitude, is a senior business and sales executive with more than 30 years of experience helping companies build successful sales teams. She has parlayed that experience to help her clients to improve their sales processes, accurately forecast revenues, ensure focus on winnable opportunities, and attain consistent results. View my LinkedIn profile | Twitter