The Ultimate Sales Meeting Agenda Template to Discovering Prospects’ Pains.
Let’s talk about how to set an effective sales meeting agenda template to discovering prospect’s pains.
I just had coffee with a female entrepreneur I met at my local networking event. She is a very creative social media manager and I have always loved the work she does for her clients.
During our coffee date, she complained about her recent sales meeting with a potential client. She was very excited when she was invited to meet with the founder of a beverage company. The beverage company is relatively new and has launched several successful lines. She has some great ideas to help them increase their social media engagement and could not wait to discuss her ideas with this company.
But, when she got there, the founder took control of the meeting immediately. Without much introduction, the founder got straight to the point.
Not wanting to know any details about the services my friend provided, he went straight to the pricing and lead time:
“How much does it cost?”
“What are your payment terms?”
“What is your lead time?”
My friend complained to me: “The entire meeting seemed like an interrogation. I did not know what to do except just answer the questions he had.”
At the end of the meeting, the founder of the beverage company simply stood up and said: “Thank you for your time. We will call if we are interested.”
“There is so much more to my service than just the pricing and lead time,” said my friend. Naturally, she did not hear from the potential client afterward.
My friend asked me how I would handle this situation.
The reality is that this is a very common situation, especially at the beginning of the business relationship. People have not yet established any connections. So, as a defence mechanism, your prospects would focus on the products, without wanting to divulge too much information about their company and their pains.
Over this year, I have developed a meeting agenda template that has allowed me to shift the meeting focus from the product to discovering prospects’ ‘pain points’. If you follow this template, by the end of the meeting you will be able to connect with your prospect and understand your prospect’s pain points.
Step 1: Introduction and personal connection
The beginning of the meeting is very important. If you are nervous about meeting with the client, the client could sense it and it then becomes harder to establish the relationship.
Prepare introductory topics to establish personal connections:
People will only purchase products from you if they like you. So, you need to look relaxed and confident at the beginning of the meeting. Prepare a general topic to talk about at the beginning of the meeting. If you got this meeting because of a referral, then briefly mention the person who made the connection.
Some other potential connections include: weather, traffic, the location of the meeting, sports…
Do not worry if your prospect is not immediately engaged in a casual conversation. Everyone has a different communication style. Just casually follow the meeting agenda template described here and you will gradually establish a personal connection.
Step 2: Take the lead and state the purpose of the meeting
Thank the prospect for meeting with you. Then, state the purpose of the meeting. I like to say: “I am here to explore the possibility of us working with each other. If it works, that would be great. If it doesn’t, that’s fine as well.”
This shows that you are confident, but not trying to be too salesy.
Step 3: Value Proposition
At this step of the meeting agenda template, you need to remind them of your value proposition. You need to remind them why they should work with you or buy your products.
- State something specific to the client:
- Complement the company’s recent success: “Congratulations on your recent awards in ABC magazine. It is great news.”
- Benefits of working with you. If possible, include a business metric that could interest your prospect:
- Our company has helped our clients increase their sales by over 30% using our sales training program.
- Potential partnership:
- I would love to talk about how we could implement some of our secrets to help your company increase your sales as well.
Take a look at 7 Super Easy Selling Techniques to Boost Your Sales Right Now.
Step 4: Setting the tone
It is possible that you might meet a Type A prospect who wants to take absolute lead and dominate the meeting.
Don’t let him take you for granted.
If your prospect has a question for you, tell them that you would need to know more about their business in order to provide the most accurate answers possible.
“In order for me to determine whether our company is suitable for you, I will need to ask you a few questions. Is that ok with you?”
People always like to ask about pricing first. Giving the pricing too early is a dangerous thing, because you could be dismissed immediately without delivering your value. So, avoid giving the pricing too early.
If a prospect keeps asking for the pricing too early during the meeting, here is what I would say:
“In order for me to give you an accurate pricing, I would need to know more about your needs and your business. I would hate to quote you the wrong pricing and then have to revise it.”
Usually, the prospect would understand and be willing to answer the questions you have.
Step 5: Discover the pain by talking about competitors
It is important to know the prospect’s pain before selling to her. But, it is not always easy to discover the pains of a potential client.
While you could just ask: “What are your biggest challenges in your business?” This strategy is not always the most effective and your prospects might not want to answer this question immediately.
Here are some questions that have really worked well for me:
- I know that you already have many suppliers, can I know why you would want to meet with me?
- What are the main factors involved in you working with us?
- (Talk about the competitor) I would love to help you get business from ________. What do you think the main success factor for ______is?
- (Talk about the competitor) We would like to help you become the #1 brand in your industry. Tell us, how would we be able to help you take over this spot from ______.
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Do you have an important meeting coming up? What is your meeting agenda template? How do you plan for it and what are your challenges?
I would love to hear about it.