Today’s post is by Deidre Moore, director of demand generation at TimeTrade, where she devises new ways to save the world from bad meetings while making the process for setting appointments easier and more productive for all.
What exactly is a “high-value” meeting?
For many sales professionals, this label is most commonly defined by the size and strategic value of the company involved, while others will focus on the titles and roles of the people attending – specifically C-level decision makers.
While both definitions are valid, I’d like to suggest another definition: A high-value meeting is any meeting that moves a deal or a relationship forward – and ideally accelerates it – regardless of the company or the roles of the people involved.
How do we overcome the barriers to setting more of these high-value meetings? Try these five tips.
Barrier #1: Not getting past gatekeepers.
The gatekeeper’s job is to protect the boss’s calendar. In this case, politeness and empathy can go a long way: Acknowledge the gatekeeper is simply doing his or her job, and ask for some friendly guidance on the best way to reach the boss.
Another option is to be direct: “I’m calling for [Name], please. I’ll hold.” At that point, the gatekeeper may just put you through.
You can also simply try other channels, including email and social engagement, to connect. Sometimes the best way to get around gatekeepers is to do just that: go around them.
Barrier #2: Asking for too much, too soon.
Salespeople often create unnecessary barriers to setting high-value meetings by asking for too much, too soon.
If a prospect has just downloaded an eBook from your Website, for example, don’t immediately ask for a meeting. Instead, create value. For example, you could quickly follow up with a “thank you” email in which you acknowledge his or her busy schedule and summarize some of the key takeaways from the eBook to save time. Once a dialogue has been started, now you have permission to ask more questions, uncover needs, and, ideally, get the meeting.
Barrier #3: Not understanding the other party’s role, persona, or priorities.
Reps today must be problem solvers, not pitch machines. The best way to solve problems is to understand the motivations, requirements, and priorities of the prospect – and place those first above those of the salesperson.
Once those dynamics are well understood, it’s about tailoring your solution’s features and benefits to address that prospect’s specific concerns. For example, ease of use is a benefit that may be extremely important to an everyday end user; but, if you’re C-level executive, your bigger concerns are likely focused on team productivity and efficiency, shortening the sales cycle, and ROI.
Here are three quick questions that can help you get into the mindset of the buyer and frame a more compelling conversation:
- “Why buy anything?”
- “Why buy your solution?”
- “Why buy now?”
If you can answer these questions, and tailor your messages accordingly, you’re much more likely to get the appointment.
Barrier #4: Not having clear, shared goals for the meeting.
A clear, shared set of meeting goals helps both salespeople and prospects understand, “What’s in it for me?” Be explicit about your specific objectives for the meeting, and get agreement on the agenda and desired outcomes in advance.
For example, you can say, “Ms. Customer, during the meeting our goal is to show you our solution in action. During that demo, we also want to ensure this is applicable to your business and addresses your specific requirements, which I understand to be [X]. Did I get those right?”
The best reps use sales demos as an active part of their discovery process, which, in turn, helps create a dialogue that leads to more – and more successful – meetings down the road.
Barrier #5: Making it too difficult to request or schedule a meeting at a specific point of need.
Make it as easy as possible for prospects to meet with you. B2B buying is an increasingly complex process, and often involves multiple stakeholders. This forces reps to spend hours each week just managing calendars. Solutions like TimeTrade give each of these stakeholders the power to engage proactively, on their timeline, with real-time access to view your availability and book an appointment – complete with virtual conferencing details. Many of our customers have even taken the step to replace the Request a Demo or Contact Us forms on their Website with a Click-to-Schedule link, speeding the cycle from inbound request to confirmed meeting with impressive results.
Get the Meeting, Get the Sale
It’s no secret that, if you can’t get the meeting, you can’t get the sale. And, in a SaaS-dominated world, if you can’t also keep customers engaged, happy, and connected to your brand for their entire lifecycle, then you can’t sustain that relationship – and the associated revenue – and build loyalty for the long term. While it’s critical to get those all-important first meetings, the reality is that a healthy customer relationship is about all the meetings, both pre- and post-sale. Use these tips to make sure you secure more high-value meetings so you can win more deals.