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Experience has taught us that if we're not prepared before going to an appointment, then we're probably wasting time. Since you're a professional, as is the person you're going to see, the one thing you don't want to do is waste time.
A key element of being prepared is setting and understanding the ground rules for the appointment. All sporting events have ground rules that regulate the behavior of all the participants. But when it comes to sales calls, you should set up the ground rules that will govern the meeting during your initial contact. Here's a brief list of some key ground rules you can use to make your next meeting go smoother.
People always treat their guests better than someone they feel is intruding on their space or time. You always have a better rapport with a guest than if the meeting is viewed strictly as a salesperson/prospect situation.
Next, review the agreed upon time frame for conducting the meeting. When the session starts it is wise to say, "We agreed to set aside an hour for this meeting, we're still OK with that right?"
Follow with the request to eliminate interruptions.
"Since we've limited our time and we're both busy, I hope we won't be interrupted. Can you please make sure of that?"
At this point it's time to review the agendas. In your initial phone conversation, you will have asked your prospect/client to "Write down some questions to discuss at our meeting and if you don't mind I'll do the same. This way we'll have thought about things and be prepared. Is that ok?"
You can address your contact's agenda by saying, "What are you hoping to accomplish today (or in the next hour)?" Introduce your agenda by saying, "My objective is to ask some questions and see if there's a fit between us. If you think that it doesn't make any sense to move forward or I don't feel there's a fit by the end of the meeting I'll tell you, would you be ok with telling me?"
End the initial ground rules discussion by stating your biggest concern.
An example might sound like, "Before we get started I have a big concern that I'd like to share with you, if that's OK. It's that we may not have the lowest prices. Some people only care about price while others are more concerned with cost (at this point you may need to explain the difference between cost and price as it relates to your product or service). Which group do you fall into?"
By asking for answers throughout the review of your ground rules you've positioned yourself for an easier, more informative and much more conclusive meeting.
Over the years I've seen variations on this theme used by hundreds of sales people on their road to success. Try it. It works!
Dan Goldberg is an internationally recognized speaker, trainer, coach, business developer and management consultant. Reach Dan by phone: 215-233-5352 ; email : email@example.com ; or visit : www.dangoldberg.com.
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