Further to yesterday’s message, here are some general guidelines to help make your meetings more productive:
Cram For The Exam
Think of your preparation for the meeting like the proverbial “cram” for an exam. The topic: Your prospect’s specific wants, needs, and dislikes.
At the very least, you will immediately win the prospect’s respect when you demonstrate that you took the time to know about his personal preferences.
Lights, Camera, Action
Treat every presentation like it’s an event. You are on stage before a captive audience. Warm up and treat the meeting as a unique opportunity. Believe that every prospect will listen if what you have to say is worth listening to. Remember that enthusiasm is contagious. Look alive and show your enthusiasm for your product or service.
People usually end up doing business with people they like. So one of your primary objectives in going to a meeting, other than to fact find, is to make this new person feel like a friend. Focus on getting the prospect to feel comfortable with you. If you go with that objective in mind, you probably will find something about the prospect that you like. That creates a very valuable chemistry.
Mirror, Mirror On The Wall
The prospect may want to know something about you, too. But, keep your description of your qualifications brief. People who “sell” their qualifications come off as insecure or pompous. Keep your self-description to two or three minutes (practice with a watch). Then focus on showing a sincere interest in your prospect’s travel plans. Almost every sentence that comes out of your mouth from there on should have a question mark planted at the end.
Take Along An Enforcer
You want to impose a discipline on the meeting that will give you the best shot at success. So take along an “enforcer.” Go in with a written agenda to hand to the prospect. Tell the prospect that you took the liberty of outlining, say, eight main points you would like to touch on in the next fifteen minutes. (These should be designed to fact find and uncover “hot buttons” as well as show your qualifications.) Then ask if you can proceed.
By using a written agenda, you give the prospect
(a) confidence that you are a professional who respects the prospect’s time, and
(b) an opportunity right out of the blocks to amend your presentation as he sees fit. When the prospect buys into your agenda, there is no need to hurry or guess later on.
Another reason to lead with an agenda: When the prospect shows an interest in the agenda, you will sense this and become more comfortable. Plus, if the interview drifts away from the planned presentation, having a written agenda will pull the discussion back to the points you wanted to make and the questions you need to ask.
Run The Prospect Through Your “MRI”
Your fundamental mission in the first meeting is to uncover the prospect’s hot buttons — his problems, concerns, reasons for choosing one service provider over another, goals, etc. This is in-depth diagnosis, like a hospital CAT scan. You are going to run the prospect through your own custom-designed “MRI” (Marketing Research Inquiry) while keeping him much more calm and contented than the typical patient is when they are run through the doughnut.
Here are some basic questions you should use in your MRI.
- When are you looking to travel?
- What attractions do you find most attractive/important?
- Can you explain why you feel this way?
- Of all of the reasons people travel, why did you pick that particular attraction or benefit as the most important?
After this initial set of questions, the meeting will probably take on a life of its own. You are now well on your way to enjoying the company of a new customer.
Mike presents a business-building webinar on the third Thursday of every month sponsored by AmaWaterways. To receive monthly invitations send Mike an email with the words “business training” in the Subject Box. You will also receive a link to the recorded version.
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