Many times, we are so focused on setting an agenda and preparing for a client meeting, call or presentation, that we forget to either think through what we want the outcome to be and/or what the customer wants the outcome to be. But if you don’t think about outcomes from everyone’s perspective – upfront – then you will never know if the meeting, call or presentation was successful.
You must focus on a desired or best-case outcome of any buyer interaction in order to help you move the deal through your sales process, or better assess whether or not the opportunity is worth pursuing.
Do your outcomes look like this?
- You gain a better understanding of who is involved in the buying decision and identify the executive who has the ultimate say in the decision
- You gain agreement and set up initial meetings with those involved in the buying process to better understand their needs and priorities
- You get input on your agenda to gain feedback before preparing for a meeting or presentation
- You get specific feedback about the proposal you provided from someone who influences the buying decision
The above set of outcomes clearly shows an effort to adhere to your sales process, ensures that you understand what the buyer is trying to accomplish, and measures their level of involvement every step of the way. These outcomes allow you to know if you are spending your time with those that have a need to make a change based on their level of involvement. Be certain to get executives involved to ensure you are working toward executive priorities and business goals.
On the other hand, the following set of outcomes is either more about what you want or is not specific enough.
- You get a demo set up
- Instead, you could identify the key stakeholders and gain agreement on setting up interviews to prepare for the upcoming demo
- You ask if they want a proposal
- Instead, you could identify a coach to review the proposal prior to being presented to the key stakeholder(s)
- You get a lunch with a client
- Instead, you could set up a lunch to better understand how major changes have been successfully implemented and sustained in their company
- You get a golf game set up
- Instead, you could set up a golf game to clearly understand the ROI that is needed to get the buyer to make a change and buy your products and services
- You figure out how to close the deal by end of the quarter
- Instead, you could identify the key activities, resources and dates for both parties to determine if the deal can close by the end of the quarter
Think about and prepare for client meetings by focusing on the outcome based on where you are in your sales cycle and the level of your relationship with the buyer. Use your outcomes as a way to determine if you are spending your time, money and resources for both parties’ benefit.
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