9 tips to make successful prospect meetings

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There you go, you've just booked a meeting with a high-potential lead. Now you want to make sure to convert this business opportunity into a deal.

The first discovery meeting allows you to understand your prospects’ problems and help them find a solution. You want to convince them that you have the right solution for the job.

As an expert in conversational intelligence, we provide you with 9 tips to turn this conversation in your favor -through listening and trust-building.

#1 Choosing the right time and place

It all starts with choosing the right setting for your meeting. In this respect, virtual sales meeting has become a must-have for professionals. 

And for good reason: 63% of sales leaders say virtual meetings are equally or more effective than in-person meetings. This is reflected in the practices of B2B professionals, who praise their convenience and flexibility. 

But on-site meetings are still impactful. They enable you to better connect with your customers and show that you make the effort to reach out to them. You can suggest to your prospects both options and plan accordingly.

Timing is also important for a prospect meeting. Your prospects' moods and availability vary during the week and day. According to leadmanagement.org, Wednesday and Thursday are the two days when prospects are the most open to a discussion. Fridays may seem like a good option, but your prospects often struggle to project themselves into a decision. The most convenient time is usually in the evening, from 4 to 5 p.m., when they have completed their daily duties. 

Try to book such a time slot in their agenda, even if it means waiting a week or two.

#2 Doing your customer research

A successful meeting is a well-prepared meeting. In this first appointment, you want to show your prospect that you know the issues he’s facing. 

To do this, you need to collect as much information as you can about your prospect and his or her business situation. Here are a few things to dig up and give you a head start :

  • What is the current state of the company (growing, restructuring, or in difficulty)? What are its history, values, and ambitions?
  • Which tools, products, and services does this company use or has used? -This will allow you to uncover some of your lead’s priorities.
  • Who are the collaborators and decision-makers involved in their problem? Is your network connected to them?
  • What are your client's background and interests?  - This information is useful to make informal conversations.

From this data, you can adjust the angle of your sales pitch. You can stress a specific need, highlight a specific benefit of your offer, and prepare for objections and competitor comparisons. But you don't need to know everything. Your questions during the meeting will help you learn more. 

#3 Leveraging sales materials

Your marketing teams might have already provided you with numerous product presentations and sales material. It's time to make the most of them. 

These documents are the best allies for your speeches. They will give weight to your arguments and visually support your presentation. 

There are generally 3 types of sales materials that you can rely on :

  • Product presentation including context, features explanation, use cases, figures...
  • Customer cases that promote success stories with related companies.
  • Battle cards (comparison sheet with competitors).

You might customize your presentation slides depending on the company you’re facing. This will help you make your delivery more effective and to add your personal touch. That’s why you might benefit from rehearsing your presentation once or twice.

#4 Ensuring a good first impression

As you know, the first impression is the one that stays. When you don't know each other yet, you take away a lot of insights from the first minutes of an interaction. And this matters even more in a prospect meeting where you need to ensure trust and credibility : 

So there are a few good practices to keep in mind: 

  • Punctuality: In the US, people get irritated as soon as you’re more than 4 minutes late. You will make a much better impression by coming earlier than the scheduled time. 
  • Appearance: take care of your haircut, beard and look clean and fresh.
  • Style: choose professional clothing (shirts, polo shirts, blazers). Outside formal sectors (banking, insurance) you can stick to a more familiar look. 
  • Posture: stand up straight and look relaxed and confident. For video calls, standing instead of sitting makes you look more dynamic. Keep a smiling and composed attitude.
  • Decorations: pay attention to the quality of your webcam, the sound of your computer, and ensure your screen background reflect your professionalism.

Even in this day and age of modern sales, your visual look still matters immensely! 

#5 Structuring your call/meeting

When you set up a meeting with your prospect, you need to take the lead and guide the discussion. This is even more important to convey authority.

From the very first moments of the meeting, you want to outline the different steps of the conversation. You might also remind them of the purpose of the meeting and confirm with them the context and the time available. You can then get going and initiate the conversation. 

A well-conducted prospect meeting follows several steps: 

  • Brief market presentation 
  • Questions about their needs and issues in this market
  • Product/service presentation and demonstration
  • Commercial negotiation
  • Projection of the benefits of the product/service on the company
  • Questions and objections’ handling
  • Conclusion and agreement

When you know where you’re going, you always have something to say! 

#6 Listening to your prospects

Who doesn't like to be listened to carefully? Great salespeople can sometimes get carried away in their natural flow. But they also know that their prospect has to come to a decision on their own. 

So you want to perform not as a salesperson, but as a consultant addressing your customer’s issues. 

This means asking the right questions that move things forward. You can talk with them about the problems around their working methods. You can point out shortcomings or underperformance that seem to upset or frustrate them. Furthermore, you can rephrase your prospect's answer to make sure you both understand it correctly. 

Once you have stumbled upon a key emotional state, you can talk about what your solution can bring to them and confirm this solution.

At Noota, our solution has found that the best salespeople have a "talk-to-listen ratio" of about 46%, meaning they only talk about ½ of the time. This way you’ll make your prospect feel like their issues are at the center of the discussion.

#7 Handling objections 

No matter how good your presentation is, you can't avoid prospect objections. It's like a boxing match: when your lead tests and challenges your solution, it means they see its relevance to their project. With an open and positive attitude, you want to address all the doubts they have. They will be even grateful for you to convince them since no one likes to be left with a tough choice.

There are several common forms of objection: 

  • Price: "your solution is too expensive”.
  • Timing: "we don't have the time/existing resources to deploy such a solution".
  • Complexity: "this product is too complex/difficult to integrate into our teams' work processes."
  • Competitor: "we already work with this company."

To answer these questions, you will find many relevant resources on the internet. It's up to you to prepare for them in advance, to show even more vigor and persuasiveness ;)

#8 Ending with a call to action

The meeting went well, and you came to a common agreement ? Not so fast!

Before you close your video or leave your prospects, you need to get them through the next steps. You need to talk about product integration, customer support, and payment procedures. 

Once everyone has gone about their business, you can then send them the minutes of the discussion and remind them of the inputs. 

Even if the meeting was not successful, you can still send them a summary of the discussion, highlighting the key points of your argument. You never know - your prospect may change his mind in the next sales cycle.

#9 Leveraging voice data 

Data is no longer just for data scientists. Today, it can bring significant support to salespeople to improve their performance. This is especially true for voice data generated by customer meeting recordings.

Each word and intonation contains significant information about your prospect's situation. They reveal their concerns and needs. By analyzing them, you can turn your conversation in your favor and improve your lead-to-deal ratio.

This is even more important when you know that a good salesperson needs about 5 calls and meetings to close a deal.

However, even experienced salespersons struggle to spot and remember these verbal cues. It's hard for them to keep track of the details of each meeting.

Fortunately, AI-based tools allow you to transcribe and analyze your customer meetings in real time. From their conversational intelligence, they generate recommendations to improve your odds of coming to an agreement.

Noota: supercharge your sales meeting performance

As an expert in conversation intelligence, we have designed a tool that helps sales teams turn prospect meetings in their favor. It provides them with several features tailored to their goals and needs: 

  • A transcription and automatic note-taker tool to keep track of conversations and share best practices.
  • Real-time sentiment analysis to track interest and measure performance.
  • An automated meeting guide to structure your pitch and questions.
  • Recommendations to improve conversation, objection handling, and sales pitch.

Want to improve the real-time performance of your sales team? Try Noota for free.

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