December 22, 2020

Everyone Hates Sales Meetings: 7 Tips to Guarantee Prospects Love Yours

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Your life expectancy as an average human is 72.6 years old (assuming you’re average…and human!). 

Some people spend those years doing things like traveling, connecting with friends and family, or working on projects they’re passionate about. 

Unfortunately, most of us use that time focusing on mind-numbing activities like back-to-back-zoom meetings, sending emails, and cranking out phone calls, right? 

As the old adage goes, ‘A life full of wasted time is a life wasted.’ The average professional attends 62 meetings a month, and literally, half of those meetings are considered a waste of time

That’s approximately 31 hours spent in unproductive meetings every month.

Applied across an entire career, that adds up to nearly two years of unproductivity

Talk about a life wasted.

Now imagine your prospect/customer is in that same unproductive boat during your meeting with them…yes, I’m looking right at you.

58% of sales meetings are not seen as valuable to buyers. 

We need to empathize with this pain as sales professionals.

What if you were that one glorious half-hour out of 61 hours of life-sucking meetings...

Your prospect would actually look forward to hearing from you. Just picture how awesome that would be.

So how can you run an effective meeting (in less than 30 minutes)?

How to Run Top Notch Sales Meetings

1. Establish Objectives (First 5 Minutes)

This is your chance to kick things off on the right foot. How detailed should your objectives be? A full agenda might be informative, but it also might be overkill. Instead, offer a brief overview of what you plan to accomplish in an audience-focused way that sparks their interest.

Be sure and tell them how long the meeting will be (but secretly plan to go shorter!). Giving time back will not only help you stay on track, but it will help your prospect stay engaged, and they will appreciate having some more time before their next meeting.

Be clear, create value, and don't ramble. The name of the game is respecting everyone's time.

2. Ask The Right Questions (10-15 Minutes)

What problem are you trying to solve? How are you handling this problem now? What do you think could be a potential solution? How can I make this easy for you? What would a successful outcome look like for your team? 

And the big one... 'Why?'

Asking questions sounds easy, and most sales reps actually do it to some degree. However, it takes more than a few checkboxes to generate an ROI from asking questions, and pretending to be curious won't cut it.

You need to ask the right questions.

Let me rephrase: you need to listen to your prospects. Hit the mute button on your end while they are speaking; this will help keep you from interrupting.

Your goal is to uncover pain points and to help your prospect figure out if they have a genuine need for your product/service.

The questions you ask should be open-ended and your prospect should be driving the conversation, not you. Don't front-load your questions - great sales professionals space their questions evenly throughout the meeting.

This makes the conversation feel less like an interview and more like, well... a conversation. 

3. Identify Solutions (5-10 Minutes)

This part will be easy if you did well on the questions. Recap the answers they gave to your questions and only highlight how you can help them specifically in those ways. 

Never feature dump. No one cares about all the fancy things your product does, they only care about solving their current problem.

Try to be more like their doctor and less like their psychic. Prescribe the perfect solution, don't guess at what they might like to hear.

4. Next Steps/Follow-Up Plan (Last 5 Minutes)

A 30-minute meeting that ends up only taking 25 is a blessing for most buyers.

Cut yourself off if you have to. Hold back on some talking points so you are able to surprise in a later more and deliver even more value.

At the end, save time to establish where you want to proceed at this point. Keep in mind that it might not be the right time and the next step is to stop talking for now.

That's totally okay.

If you asked the right questions and offer solutions that fit their needs, make sure they know you're planning to continue the conversation. Ask who else needs to be involved in the next meeting to advance the deal further. 

Keep In Mind: You can run a fantastic meeting and sign off to a standing ovation. But your prospect probably has five meetings lined up after yours.

They won’t even remember what they had for breakfast, let alone what you all discussed. 

A shame, really. But it doesn't have to stay that way.

Enter your new best friend (maybe even soulmate, but let's not get ahead of ourselves): the recap email.

A concise, yet effective recap email will crystallize what you discussed in the prior meeting and list the next steps for all to see. It will amplify your sales genius as it teleports your magic solution to the right people who can get that deal etched in stone.

“But how can I write something so short, yet effective?”

How To Write a Perfect Recap Email:

1. (Re)Establish Your Objectives

Remember the overview at the beginning of your meeting? Neither do they. Start the email by summarizing the main talking points. Focus on what they told you their priorities are and how your company is able to help.

Recap in a way where their most important initiatives line up with your value proposition.

2. Provide Clear Next Steps, With A Timeline

So you mastered open-ended questions, eh? Nice work, but leave them out of the recap email.

Use actionable, unambiguous words to minimize back-and-forth emails and maximize the chance of reconnecting sooner rather than later (newsflash: later usually means never). 

Example: “Based on what we covered today, I think it would be helpful to schedule a quick 15-minute call early next week. Does Monday at noon or Tuesday at 4pm MST work for you?”

3. Thank Them For The Opportunity To Help!

More than just common courtesy, appreciation in this case is well deserved.

They offered you the chance of a work week: to potentially waste their time. Don't take this lightly!

End your recap email with a display of gratitude followed by a smooth variation of 'looking forward to chatting next week. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to reach out with any additional questions.'

They'll love it.

How Conversation Intelligence Can Come To The Rescue

We here at Pickle are human just like everyone else. We struggled to run super effective/efficient meetings and inspiring recap emails that lead to action.

Determined to solve this problem we put the Pickle Machine to work.

With Pickle, you can visualize exactly how each conversation progressed and especially how to improve and replicate your best meetings.

You also have the ability to pull out the specific portions of the conversation you want to be included in your recap email and fire it off in half the time it would normally take to read through your manual notes. Now imagine how much time you would save after having 6 straight meetings in a day that you need to recap?

It's a need-to-have for us personally. If you're interested in replicating your prospect's favorite meetings and sending recap emails that will cut your deal-time and real-time in half, hit us up!

Everyone has the same 24 hours a day. Most of us spend half the day on zoom calls we don’t care about.

If you can implement any one of these tips, your prospects will thank you for it and your goals/quota will too.

Happy hunting! And the next time someone cancels a meeting with you, take heart. There will be more.

For in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes...and meetings.

You'll like these emails 🥒

Pickle writes to their friends every few weeks with spicy tips to make their wall-to-wall meetings suck less.
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