Prospection, e-mails, cold calling, you know the drill. And you finally convinced Mr./Ms. Prospect that there is value in taking the time to meet you.

Good job! Now how do you ensure you make the best use of this chance? As I’ve come to realize, the preparation for the meeting is just as an important step as a meeting itself. 

My checklist for nailing each and every single pitch I give is this:

Research – know the prospect’s business and industry, try to find out their challenges, competitions, potential plans to grow, as this will help you understand how your solution can be beneficial to them and you can position your proposal from the very beginning. I also find it insightful to know the person I am meeting, so I always do a “background check”. You might learn you have common friends or share hobbies, anything that can help relate is good.

Have a goal in mind – although I don’t like sticking to a strict agenda, I have come to understand that having an objective in mind will guide you during the meeting and help you move to the next step, and will also lead you to ask the right questions. If you have no clue of the meeting’s purpose, then how can you know what to ask?

Draft an agenda and communicate it prior to the meeting – it will help you stay on track and touch the relevant points.

Know your differentiators and why the prospect should work with you. It might sound intuitive, but when I started out in sales, I found myself making this mistake.

Tell your story – and by that, I mean having a narrative around why your product/service is great and why you love the business that you are in, etc. I always found that the more passionate I was about what I was selling, the more compelling I was. Passion and enthusiasm persuade and we all want to be around such individuals, so don’t overlook this.

Open the meeting with a smile, and let the prospect know how eager you are to explore whatever challenges you identified. I found this to be more powerful than the so used “thank you for meeting me”, as you are positioning yourself as someone that has the ability to solve their problems, as opposed to a sales guy grateful for their time.

Listen – I might be over repeating, but I understood that the only way to truly understand your prospects is active listening.

Take notes – this way you can do a proper follow up after the meeting and deliver what you told your prospect you would (case studies, testimonials, links etc). 

9. Make sure you get some next steps/actions – have a demo, get a customer referral, etc. The best way to keep moving forward is to get some next steps and this is the best time to do so.

And last but not least, if you are having the meeting online or via a conferencing solution, make sure the setup works properly, there is nothing more painful than trying to fix a GoToMeeting connection, right before the meeting, as my personal history tells 🙂

Photo by Nastuh Abootalebi on Unsplash