Of course, you can go into a customer appointment on the off chance and hope that your product will convince the other person right away. If you want to increase your chances of hitting a successful deal, a little preparation won’t hurt.
We’ll tell you a few obvious and a few surprising points that are important when the sales department prepares a customer appointment.
A first conversation is not a sale
This tip could also be: Don’t praise the day before the evening. It goes without saying that it is a reason to be happy when you strike up a conversation with a lead or arrange an appointment together. However, an initial interest is no guarantee that a meeting will actually take place or that a sale will be completed.
This is exactly why intensive preparation is so important. First, research all the facts about your potential customer. Check out the history of the company and its line of business. If the company or the consumer has been a customer of yours for a long time and the contract is to be renewed, the common history is the most important thing. This can be used to estimate what and how many the customer wants to buy and what is important to him.
Arrange and record the customer appointment
It is best to make an appointment by telephone and then send all key data electronically so that they can be looked up later. Or send a date query to your customer. He then has the opportunity to propose an appointment himself.
Use customer appointment preparation to check whether it fits
If you find out what a product has to do in order for your prospect to buy it, this can also lead to the realization that it just doesn’t fit. They may have misunderstood your offer and expected something completely different. Be honest with yourself about what you can deliver. If the deal is important enough to you, you might consider upgrading your services accordingly.
Prepare the personal level
Get to know your customer not only as a company (in B2B business) or as a target group (B2C) – but also as the person you will be speaking to. Knowing the name is the bare minimum. Additionally, find out about this person’s job, similarities, and character .
You could do this by asking members of your team who know this customer. Or browse the web for social media profiles, a self-description or press reviews. Start a conversation on a personal level. However, it is better to avoid typical controversial topics such as politics or religion. These will only tarnish the business relationship, and if directions diverge too extreme, the chemistry and your goals won’t match anyway.
I’m packing my briefcase…
Using a list that I make beforehand so I don’t forget anything. Your sales team should create a packing list for preparing for customer appointments, adding to it as needed. This includes not only physical items such as a laptop or tablet, business card and model of the product, but also digital files, information or access that is required.
A discussion guide should always be on the packing list . This should not restrict, but give you security and ensure that you do not forget any important point.
Self-confidence during the customer appointment and afterwards
When all the material necessities are packed, it’s still a matter of taking the right mindset with you. The in-depth preparation, the clarity about what the customer wants and whether you can map this, the recorded appointment data – all of this already gives security. From now on you can concentrate fully on the strengths of your product and use your sales talent.
To ensure that everything continues with the same certainty after the conversation, plan how notes will be taken right from the start. If it is not possible during this time, then as soon as possible afterwards, while the memories are still fresh. The follow-up includes planning the next steps, a transfer to the CRM and notifying the team.
Appointment scheduling with calendar or sales app
Use a calendar to avoid overlapping appointments. That sounds obvious, but it happens again and again at several meetings a week. Also, do not rely on your memory, but put everything in writing . The information can be sent to all participants via Flixcheck, for example.
There are sales apps that are designed to coordinate multiple customer meetings. They set routes and allow you to share customer information, the meeting agenda, and all other files with the entire sales team . This enables substitution in the event of illness.
Have all your travel dates ready when you arrive
We all know the feeling that we would like to double check if we are at the right platform at the right time. What is our seat and how much connection time do we have? Which street do we have to go to? The best way to prepare for a customer appointment is not only to know this information as well as possible, but above all to always have it at hand.
The internet will not always be stable when you are on the go. So have a screenshot or an app that can be used offline at hand. Incidentally, a time buffer forwards and backwards is always advisable. If your meeting takes less time, you can have a coffee with the customer and chat informally. If he wants to continue working, you have the same option. The next meeting will definitely come!
The last minutes before the online meeting
Open the Zoom meeting at the last minute? That is possible. However, it will lead to a bumpy start. It is better to carry out a technical test again , even if this seems redundant. Recognizing sound or picture problems immediately is always better than a half-hour delay.
Stay reachable on all channels right before the meeting and until all participants have arrived. Your customer would be happy to quickly write an email or SMS that he or she will be coming later. Or that the camera doesn’t work, or that you prefer an alternative channel. If you can only be reached via video chat right now, the customer doesn’t know how to reach you.