What happens during the sales meeting is important. However, every sales professional should be aware of the fact that what takes place AFTER the initial encounter is equally crucial. In fact, the steps taken subsequent to the first meeting can influence the sales cycle and spell the difference between failure and success.
Failure to develop an effective post-meeting plan may result in lost opportunities, and wasted time and resources. Here are three activities every sales professional should consider following a meeting with a prospect or client:
1. Analyze the meeting
Performing a post-meeting analysis is a crucial activity that will enable you to improve your presentation, refine your responses and make a bigger impact during your next sales encounter. Take the time to reflect on the meeting and determine what can be done better or how you can communicate your message more effectively next time.
To keep your momentum going, ask yourself the following questions:
- Did I cover all bases and meet all goals and objectives during the meeting?
- Did I obtain all details to move the process along?
- Did I convey all the nuances, features and benefits of my offerings to the decision makers?
- What was the reaction to my presentation? What do their body language and facial expressions tell me?
- Do I need to fine-tune my approach and develop a more customized solution for the next meeting?
If you sensed some initial resistance to your offer, figure out how to mitigate customer concerns, secure trust and clearly articulate the advantages of potential collaboration with your organization. Gain a clear view of the prospect’s immediate needs and fully understand where you are in the buying cycle.
Additionally, think about what went well and where you can improve upon in the future. If you made a mistake or did not properly impart information, clarify your point and provide a better explanation during the next appointment. It is your job to leave no questions unanswered, no issues unresolved, and no stones unturned. Therefore, prepare to the best of your ability to advance the sales process.
2. Plan ahead and identify your next steps
Following your post-meeting analysis, start planning your next steps and determine what your next sales interaction will look like. The challenge is to decide what you should do to move closer to your goal of initiating a long-term relationship.
Put together a list of stimulating and thought-provoking questions that will get your prospects talking and help you learn even more about their situation. Find ways to reassure them of your ability to instantly address their needs and exceed expectations.
Are they aware that they are in good hands? Do they know EXACTLY what they are signing up for? Perhaps offer additional marketing materials, conduct another Q&A session or share customer testimonials that could help you boost your credibility and drive the point home.
3. Send a follow-up email
Oftentimes, effective follow-up correspondence will help bring the deal closer to completion and turn a prospect into a customer. Taking the time to write a compelling follow-up email demonstrates that you sincerely want to earn their business. When you reiterate some of the main points discussed during the first meeting and urge the potential buyer to call you with any questions or concerns, you make it easier for them to embrace your recommendations and learn more about your offerings. That’s how you secure trust and build rapport, while educating your prospects about the significance of your products or services. Simply put, timely follow-up is a very important step in the sales process and should always be a part of your business strategy.
Bottom line: In a highly-competitive market, it may take several attempts to establish trust and build a business relationship. However, the most diligent and persevering sales professionals realize that failure to carefully evaluate their first presentation and put together a post-meeting plan may result in missed opportunities. To avoid negative consequences, sales representatives should follow the steps above to advance the sales process and demonstrate their potential.