5 effective steps to prepare for any successful sales meeting

Are you wondering how to prepare for a sales meeting?

In this article, we will share with you the steps you should take to ensure you prepare for any sales meeting, including:

  • How to determine and define the primary goal for your next meeting.
  • How to plan for the meeting.
  • How to set a clear sales meeting agenda
  • How to have a productive meeting
  • How to develop a clear action plan coming out of the meeting.

How to prepare for a sales meeting

Too often, a meeting could be an email. Or an hour-long meeting could have been done in 15 minutes. Usually, this results from either not having a clear goal for the session or adequately prepared.

To be adequately prepared for any sales meeting, you need to know what your primary goal is. From there, create a plan, an agenda, and the desired outcomes.

Having all this prepared before you enter a sales meeting will drastically improve your chances of a successful, productive sales meeting.

5 ways to prepare for any sales meeting

How to determine and define the primary goal of your meeting

Whether this is a sales call or an in-person meeting, your goal is to have effective sales meetings consistently; otherwise, you are wasting your time and those of the prospects with whom you are meeting.

First, determine and define the goal—or objective—of the next sales meeting. After all, no one’s has time to have a meeting for the sake of it. Determining the primary goal of your session can come down to the type of company you are, where you are in the year, and whether you have any new products or services in production.

Examples of primary goals for a meeting include:

  • If this is the first meeting, it can be a good idea to keep the meeting brief and use it to introduce yourself and your business and to learn a bit about the potential customer’s business.
  • If this is a customer meeting, discuss new services and products in development.
  • A quarterly business review where you discuss progress made since the customer deployed your solution is powerful

So, if you’re a tech company, you might schedule an internal sales meeting where the product team and Enablement explain a new product or service to the sales manager and all sales reps.. The goal of this meeting would be to demonstrate and explain the product so your sales team can better sell it.

Your goal for this meeting would not be a feature dump; the important thing for the team to understand would be how to use this information as part of a sales conversation, not how to be an expert pushing all the new buttons.

How to plan for a meeting

Sales people, heck, everyone in your business is busy.

If you want to have effective meetings, first ask yourself, do I need a discussion for this, or could it be handled via an email?

This simple question goes a long way towards improving your meetings.

Another good thing to consider?

Who needs to attend the meeting?

There will be passive consumers of information and active members with lots of questions. Consider the purpose of the meeting as you determine who to invite and the content of the meeting

Many people will prefer to simply read the email summary, stay informed, and make good use of their time.

In your initial meeting notification, be sure to explain the meeting’s goal and expectations clearly. And send out a reminder for the appointment the day before.

How to set a clear sales meeting agenda

Part of the planning stage is setting a clear meeting agenda. If the objective of the meeting is to discuss a new product, determine what needs to be covered to discuss and explain the new product successfully.

You can do this by briefly outlining the topics to be discussed and who will be responsible for reporting on those topics.

This rule applies both to internal and external meetings.

A great salesperson will not risk their business relationship with any business owner, or key decision maker, by failing to set this plan clearly and ensuring that there is value being created for the seller and the existing or potential customer.

In addition to setting a clear plan, set a time limit for how long the meeting will run.

Setting a clear sales agenda will help you stay on topic and allows everyone to know why they’re in the meeting.

Take a minute to review this video from Aaron Evans, where he shares his insights on how sales reps should approach setting an agenda for meetings with a potential client.

As Aaron notes:

  • Agendas Set The Right Tone: Meeting agendas let participants know that there’s a legitimate business purpose for meeting, with specific issues to discuss and outcomes to achieve. It conveys your interest in getting down to business and not wasting time.
  • Agendas Identify Topics For Discussion: Agendas let attendees know what issues will be discussed, and keep them from placing other issues on the table. They also eliminate the guesswork as to whether or not a particular topic is going to be discussed.
  • Agendas Keep Everyone Focused: Meeting agendas can focus participants in ways that verbal guidance cannot. Participants have a written reminder of what needs to be accomplished during the meeting, allowing them to help drive each discussion toward a conclusion.
  • Agendas Eliminate Excuses: Agendas eliminate excuses that participants aren’t ready to discuss a subject because they didn’t know it would be brought up. Participants are put on notice of exactly what they need to prepare, saving time and eliminating embarrassment.

How to have a productive meeting

A productive meeting is efficient and only takes as long as is strictly necessary to convey the primary goal. Too often, meetings are slated for an hour when they could be 20 minutes.

If you only need twenty minutes, don’t blow it out to an hour. If your meetings are a waste of time, customers will not do business with you.

The last thing you want is for prospects to view you as being unable to stay on task and on time.

Start the meeting on time. End the session on time (or earlier if the extra time is not needed).

With the help of your plan, you need to stay on topic. In a productive sales meeting, you should keep digressions and tangents to a minimum. If side conversations occur, document those and set up a follow-up meeting to focus on that new topic.

How to set a clear action plan coming out of a meeting

The final part of having productive sales meetings is setting a clear action plan coming out of the meeting.

You will want to establish commitments and deadlines, send meeting notes, and follow up on commitments.

Establish commitments and deadlines after discussing each topic in your plan. This is done by assigning specific obligations and deadlines to team members where necessary.

Within a day of the meeting, send meeting notes. Meeting notes should include:

  • Key takeaways.
  • Each topic discussed.
  • What needs to be done, by who, and by when.
  • Any links or attachments for any relevant documents and resources.

Finally, follow up on commitments before the due date. Demonstrate to your customer that you can not only meet your commitments but that you will strive to go above and beyond whenever possible.

Preparing for a successful sales meeting

Preparing for a successful sales meeting involves careful preparation and planning. And then, once in the discussion, it requires you to keep the meeting on the topic to achieve its primary goal.

You want to create your meeting summary notes in a way that shows everyone that you achieved the primary goal.

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