Ah yes, modern communication tools - what sales rep doesn’t use them? From the monolithic Zoom to the rival Teams and the long-forgotten Skype, they’re the ‘best’ way to collaborate in our current times. Well, not quite! Although online meetings are becoming status quo, they’ll never top the rich experience of a face to face interaction. And so, in this blog, we’ll be looking at 9 face to face tips to help your sales team brush up on the most effective way to sell and build customer relationships: the face-to-face sales meeting.
9 Face to Face meeting tips to help reps win deals and build customer relationships
Before the meeting
Tip #1: Gather the goods
Face to face sales meeting success lies far more in preparation than we’d like to believe. Once meeting intentions have been decided and confirmed by the customer, reps can start gathering materials needed to guide the conversation. These could be anything from samples, demo material, catalogs, or customer success stories: whatever’s needed to bring the discussion to life.
Tip #2: Refresh customer knowledge
Ensuring reps refresh their knowledge on where a customer is at before a face to face meeting is an obvious must-do. Provided the rep has a easy-access customer notes record to rely on, they can go through and recap a customer’s goals, any items needed for followup, or past purchase activity. Plus, putting in effort to remember small yet significant details can help reps build stronger customer relationships: it shows the customer their sales rep cares!
Tip #3: Step into the customer’s shoes
Encourage reps to consider the customer perspective before face to face sales meetings. It’s tempting for a rep to focus on what they can get from an interaction, but having empathy towards a customer’s needs and situation could reveal hidden sales opportunities. E.g. if a building supplies customer has just signed their biggest contract yet, what stress might be on their mind? What could the rep do or provide to ease those stresses?
During the meeting
Tip #4: Be a consultant, not a seller!
Being a consultant is about having a customer-centric mindset: listen to the customer, pull out their pain points, and make recommendations to reduce those pain points. Consultant sellers hold deep curiosity for what’s happening in a customer’s day-to-day, using the details drawn from listening to make recommendations based on their knowledge and authority position. E.g. a retail customer is feeling extremely nervous going into the holiday season: what are they most/least concerned about? What recommendations could be made based on the customer’s answer?
Tip #5: Bring relevant demo products
There’s no use reps bringing trunkloads of the latest products to a face to face meeting if they aren’t relevant to a customer’s pain points. Any products a rep brings to a meeting should support the consultant approach, helping to reinforce, if needed, any recommendations made.
Tip #6: Be personable yet efficient
The best sales reps are small talk masters who can fire up positive conversations with even the most tight-lipped customers. However, while great chats are wonderful for building strong customer relationships, they don’t exactly get the job done. Make sure reps remember to keep it concise when they’re meeting their customers: customers have their own jobs to do!
After the meeting
Tip #7: Update customer notes!
After a successful face to face sales meeting, reps can easily forget key points or small yet significant details. When a rep gets back in their car, memory charged and ready to go, encourage them to take a moment to mind dump key tasks, opportunities, and notes down into their preferred tool. With new notes captured and on record, reps will be well prepared for the next customer interaction.
Tip #8: Always follow through on promises
Within their customer notes reps should ensure they’ve recorded any promises made which they need to follow through on. Think promises like: “I’ll do you a 15% discount,” or “I’ll send through samples next Monday.” For great sales reps, their word is their bond: something highly valuable if for increasing likelihood of a successful referral. Do your sales reps keep their word?
Tip #9: Keep in contact
Once the meeting is over and notes have been taken, the communication doesn’t stop: send updates! Make sure reps are keeping the customer updated on the action as it unfolds: as products are ordered and shipped, when invoices will come through, a time to meet again, or even ideas for solving other pain points.
Summary and key points
Whether you’ve got rookie reps or just starting to get back into face to face interaction, this simple list can act as a starting point for refreshing reps on F2F meeting flow. Here’s the full 9 point list:
1: Gather the goods (material for the meeting.)
2: Refresh customer knowledge (don’t go in without knowing the customer’s situation.)
3: Step into the customer’s shoes (empathy.)
4: Be a consultant, nott a seller (be a customer-centric problem solver.)
5: Bring relevant demo products (products which relate to the customer’s situation.)
6: Be personable yet efficient (keep it fun but concise.)
7: Update customer notes (capture key details while they’re fresh.)
8: Always follow through on promises (word is your bond.)
9: Keep in contact (keep the customer involved and updated.)
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