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Sales Strategy - Reinforcement


Successful salespeople establish the ground rules for a sales meeting whenever they schedule a call with a prospect. They avoid the trap of the buyer-seller dance, where the prospect gets to ask all the questions and the salesperson does all the dancing, by getting an up-front agreement of what will happen during the meeting.

These successful salespeople make it a habit to gain agreement with their prospects on what will happen before every meeting. And they reinforce the agreement by sending an email summarizing what they mutually decided will happen. This email should include five key elements:

  1. The purpose of the meeting. Whether it’s on the phone are face-to-face, both parties need to know in advance the reason the meeting is taking place.
  2. Time. Not just when the meeting will occur, but how long it will take. Successful salespeople make it a habit to discuss with their prospects up-front, how much time to plan for the meeting.
  3. Their agenda. Find out specifically what the prospect wants to discuss, and acknowledge in your email that you will be prepared to address their discussion items.
  4. Your agenda. You should have specific items you want to discuss as well. Treat your discussion points as equally important as the prospect’s discussion points, by listing them in your email.
  5. Outcomes. Be explicit that together you might decide that you’re your solution is not a good fit for them based on what they’re trying to achieve. This will do wonders to get the prospect to treat your agenda with equal respect. In addition, be explicit about what should happen if they decide you are a fit.

There are a couple of important traps to avoid when you confirm the agreement you’ve made with a prospect about a sales meeting.

  • First, be complete. Don’t leave anything out that you agreed to on the phone. This is an opportunity to reinforce to the prospect that you listen well and follow through on what you hear.
  • Second, don’t add anything. Use your confirmation email to reinforce what you discussed. Don’t use it to assert agenda items that you forgot to mention or fill them in on what will happen next. If you forgot to discuss something important about the meeting, pick up the phone and finish the conversation with your prospect. Then you can confirm the agreement in your email.

Make it your habit to get an up-front agreement of what will happen on every sales call, and reinforce your agreement with an email confirmation. You’ll find prospects are much more prepared to conduct the meeting on your terms, and they’ll treat your time as important as their own.

Joe Marr, President, Sandler Training Ann Arbor

Joe Marr, President, Sandler Training Ann Arbor

Joe Marr has over 30 years experience organizing, training, coaching and managing sales professionals and sales managers worldwide. In executive sales and training positions in the corporate world, Joe was responsible for the technical and sales fundamentals training of over 1000 sales people worldwide in support of a $110,000,000 business. A native of Ann Arbor who attended EMU Business School, Joe's mission is to help business people to get as comfortable and effective in selling and sales management, as they are in the rest of their business. Contact me at: Sandler Training located in Ann Arbor, MI