The following question was answered on Quora, that I considered worthy of posting on a sales-oriented blog:
Hi Harsh - thanks for your invitation to answer this question.
Firstly, I can say that I may have cracked my knuckles once or twice, but not enough to consider it a habit, never mind a superstition.
I can’t say that I have any, really. BUT what I can share with you is that there are certainly some effective habits or rituals I undertake before attending a client’s to confirm a renewal or new project or a new client signing or commitment to move the business relationship forward. [ That reminds me of a closing statement I learned to ask to check for satisfaction, willingness to move forward: “have I addressed all of your questions, or is there anything else that would prevent us from moving forward by signing this document today? ]
I would say there are a few quick tips I can share:
- Be prepared: know who you are seeing, do your research by understanding what they sell, what they offer, who they offer it to, who they compete against and who they buy from and why. Write a list of a few good question on the notepad you will be taking along to the meeting (don’t be tempted to take notes on a device, mobile, tablet, or laptop: people are accustomed to seeing others take notes; more find it rude when you appear distracted simply by thumbing or clicking on keys to write the notes).
- Record of the meeting would hopefully have already been entered in your Outlook or Calendar with reminder set days hence to prepare, look up any information gaps;
- To form good habits with data (aka information and customer intelligence), record the pending meeting on this client’s file BEFORE or immediately after scheduling the call. That would be a CRM system - or customer relationship bible. Including any valid notes, including any proposals linked to the CRM client file, record any emails leading up to the event. The intention here is to grow your sales … right?
- Have the right attitude: be convinced yourself some identifiable flags that hinted that this customer may have a timely need for your product or service. Based on your familiarity with the client (aka monitoring and following your top 10 and its brand on as many avenues as possible: whether social media, traditional media or trade publications, online and printed forms the least favorable choice.
- I power through my power point presentation and have a proposal or contract prepared to take with me when I go in: customers or prospects are impressed by your preparation. They imagine: if he/she puts this much effort into winning my business, I would imagine even a half -attempt to keeping it, would still be better than I currently have or this problem or issue that needs solving.
- React swiftly to inquiries. As both a sales professional and a buyer, I can recall so many times being the first to respond in a polished, professional manner does put you in the place of the one to beat.
- Do what you promise. Most people who buy don’t trust sales people. Change their perception on that (to the delight of all other sales types I’m sure) and show them that you don’t offer anything without the firm possibility that you can deliver (without compromising your team’s ability to produce/back up those commitments). You will lead in sales in the ability for others to trust you. They will begin to ask you questions on what seems to be unrelated issues that can evolve into unknown opportunities.
- Call ahead to leave a message to state that you are on your way and will be there within 30 minutes (because you know from where you are to where they are, parking and reception calling to say that you’re here, and they will note that you are on time, no more than 10 minutes early). Review your notes and have an idea of what you are going to say, show and ask during the meeting. Decide a few symptoms you may want to look for that indicates a willingness to move forward even if there is no commitment or signature.
- Don’t waste your time chasing the impossible. Don’t give up too early either. Least of all, don’t give up too easily. You can’t know that the person you were meeting with has been plagued with the very issue your product or service will solve. If you have good investigative skills, you may know about it more than they do because you have been following them (their company … please not them personally, they may think you are stalking then … unless it is mutually agreed to i.e. exchange Facebook).
- Be hesitant with trying to be a buddy too soon: a golf game invitation when they have strict purchasing policies which disallows golf games, or may just charity tournaments. In fact, taking them as a guest to a charity golf tournament IS the best way to get a customer or prospect on the golf links. Be respectful of anyone else who may attend that does not golf. Don’t leap to invite them as a friend on Facebook, it is more appropriate to do so on Linked In so that you can do more recognizance on the individual’s background, community involvements, for rapport building conversations. Again, if you reach out to them and connect on LINKED IN, don’t try to sell them anything in those small messages. If you do, you can expect to be delegated to annoying.
- When I know I’ve done most of what I’ve just listed and I’m on my way to my meeting, I will often put in a rock classic song or channel on my car radio so that I get that boost and charge from the energy absorbed, ready to bring it on because you know you did your homework and you prepared.