You know when you’re doing a bunch of first meetings, but not enough of them are converting to a second meeting or demos? Well, we’ve all been there.
The truth is - that first meeting conversion has such a huge impact on how successful we are. A lot of times people assume that it is the prospect who just wasn’t qualified or the best fit, but it’s very likely that it’s something you’re doing, or maybe it's something you’re even not doing!
Now, lets go a few main factors that will contribute to you being successful with higher conversions:
Are you truly meeting with your ideal customer profile?
This one is going to be focused on actually getting the people you need. There is no point in getting on these meetings if you already know in advance the person isn’t qualified, or if you didn’t ask enough questions before the meeting in your surveys or in the pre-discovery process. We need to be sure that we’re meeting with people we should be meeting with.
If you aren’t meeting with the right people, you’ll try to make the most of what you have, and do anything you can to have opportunities (good or bad) go through. This is not ideal for the prospect or yourself!
Are we having the right level of conversation for who we’re meeting with?
In your meetings, you will most likely be having conversations with one of the following groups:
Operators: usually team members, those who are hands on the keyboard
Middle Management: Concerned about TCO, teams, and if things are being effective
Executives: Think CISO, SVP, VP, those who are managing a team or teams
Each of these groups of people have different things they care about. For example, operators care about the things that affect them, whereas if you're an executive, you’re thinking more about strategy and transformation.
You want to make sure that your presentation and what you are talking about is matching up with what the person you’re speaking to cares most about.
Are you carving out 10 minutes at the end of the meeting to agree on the next steps?
We often intend to do this, but in reality, it ends up rushed, or worse we send an email asking for the next steps. If you ask for next steps while you are already talking with them, it will improve your chances of getting the deal closed.
Actually, research has shown that deals that went the fastest had sellers spend 1.53x the length of time at the end of the first meeting on next steps than the slower deals. Be sure you’re making that time to go through the next steps with them instead of following up afterwards.
Have you identified a big enough problem to work through with the prospect or that's big enough for them to be excited to fix?
So, we’ve found problems but we don't know if they're big enough, but if they’re not big enough then the motivation from the prospect to fix them can oftentimes be limited. Think about it this way - if you are in a meeting and someone is trying to sell what you asked about to you, but then made a few suggestions after about new problems to fix, your mind would be set on the ones you originally planned the meeting for.
In the prospect's mind, anything aside from what they feel their current problem is can usually be unimportant to them at this moment. This brings me to my next question for you.
Have you been able to articulate a future for them to move towards and get excited about?
The value in the deal is the gap between the problem and the great new future they're going to get to by fixing the problem. If they can’t see how this will benefit their specific needs and if you don’t show them why getting this is better now than later, it will be much harder to go through with the deal.
Remember, we are conveying what they need, not convincing them.
How have you spent your time in the meeting?
Sometimes we’ve pitched too much, and have spent way too much time talking about what we do. Some even spend almost 80% of their presentation doing this instead of understanding the prospect’s situation and problems to therefore be able to identify the big ones and the big future you could help them move towards.
Are you asking great questions during the explanation of what we do?
When you get to the point in the meeting where you say “this is what we do”, are you asking great questions?
I challenge you to look at whatever CI tool you have and look at a subset of your first meetings. Look at when you're doing the talking and explaining, look at what the interaction is with the prospect. If you have thin slivers on those bar charts, I bet you the question you asked before that was not a strong question.
But, if you ask great questions and draw the prospect into the conversation then you will find that their responses are a lot longer and you’re learning more about the problems, the impact and the great future we can take them towards.
Ask yourself, are you falling prey into any of these errors in the meetings? If so, make sure to download our First Meeting Checklist HERE.