Have you ever arrived at an appointment expecting to have a one-on-one meeting, only to be ushered into a room filled with people, a projector on the table, and eager faces awaiting your presentation… only you didn’t know PowerPoint or a demo was part of the meeting?
Have you ever spent an hour with a potential customer only to realize that you learned little about what would lead to a sale, but feel like you gave a bunch of free consulting?
Have you ever wondered what the next steps are to helping your client reach a decision, and wonder if the next action item is your task or their task?
We cannot get angry when our clients or prospect does something that we didn’t say wasn’t ok. We can’t get frustrated with deals that linger forever if we don’t set mutual expectations up front with our client regarding a process and timeline we can both live with. In this new year, follow these three keys to accelerate business decisions:
Set Meeting Expectations – Prior to each encounter, gain mutual agreement on the details of the meeting: who is going to be there, what are the potential outcomes from the meeting; when will the meeting start and end; and how you will conduct the meeting to reach the outcomes. This simple but often overlooked step will make life easier for everyone.
Commit to asking questions – It is easy to get caught talking about our capabilities. But, research has shown that customers don’t care as much about our “stuff” as they care about our ability to solve their needs. So, we need to spend time talking about their needs, and not our stuff.
Clearly define next steps – Too often, I see people leave a meeting without a clear plan for next steps and action items. Not only is it essential to agree to what happens next and when that will happen, but send a follow-up note after the meeting summarizing the key points and reminding the attendees of the action items. It will demonstrate that you were listening, and will keep everyone on the same page.
These simple steps can make a dramatic impact to accelerate business decisions and reduce uncertainty and frustration. What methods do you use to keep things on track?
By Andrew Brown