12 Tips for Successful In-Person Meetings

By November 13, 2012Sales and Marketing

Working in sales for decades, I’ve learned that a face to face meeting is the best way to secure a sale. The telephone, email and social media are all great but nothing beats an in-person meeting. So, what makes for a successful in-person meeting? There are many tips and tricks floating around on the Internet but some are far more effective than others. Here are my top 12 tips to keep you on top of every meeting.

1. Never be late

You’d be surprised how often people are late to meetings. In fact, people are usually late to meetings. If you are the person who is always on time, imagine how you will stand out.

2. Have a specific plan + agenda

Be organized, have a plan for the meeting ,and also have a #1 goal out of each meeting. Make some reasonable bullet points for what is to be discussed in order to achieve that goal.

3. Remember names

This should be a golden rule for you. Always remember the names of the people you are meeting with, and use their names when speaking with them. Dale Carnegie said, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” He was right. Also remember that forgetting someone’s name is unprofessional and makes people wonder what else you are going to forget. If you have a bad memory ask for their business card while giving them your own card at the start of the meeting. Then keep their card in front of you as a reference. You can always look down to remind yourself who is who throughout the meeting.

4. Make sure you listen more than you talk

People like to talk, so being the person who listens in a meeting will be very beneficial to you. Especially when trying to make a sale, our instinct is to blab on and on about what our product can do or what our ideas could accomplish. Keep in mind that your listener will only listen for so long. Get them talking and you will win more sales.

5. Avoid a sales pitch

Even if you are in a sales meeting. Sales pitches often don’t make sales. You want to have a dialogue and solve problems for your customers. Don’t go in with a script. Go in with a plan.

6. Know your product in and out

If you want your customers to NOT trust you, simply show them that you don’t know your product! Too often I see salespeople not knowing their products in and out. Never make this mistake. You should devote a significant amount of time into researching the pros and cons of all your products as well as how they work.

7. Keep your phone off

This seems like a no-brainer, but that would mean that most people don’t have brains. We all have left our phones on during meetings and we all have definitely heard phones ring, ding, and buzz throughout meetings. It’s not respectful. Even if you ignore the call or text, everyone else will still think it’s rude. Your energy and attention should be 100% on the person you are meeting with.

8. Never be too professional

This might seem like a strange suggestion, but it’s important. You want to make your clients, customers, and team feel like you are a real person. It’s never fun (and certainly not inspiring) to meet with someone who is all business all the time. Be friendly and smile.

9. Never argue

It’s very easy to get defensive when a client or potential customer asks you the hard questions. It’s vital that you always remain calm, and seek to truly understand the other person’s concerns. Remember that acting defensive will always result in a defensive attitude and ill feelings about you and your company  from the other side.  The solution is simple, don’t argue.

10. Avoid politics and religion

These things come up more than you might think! We’re currently in an election month here in the United States, so many people are talking about politics and religion. Do not engage and encourage this kind of conversation in the workplace. It can often results in hard feelings and problems. Just avoid it!

11. Don’t stay too long

We all know that short meetings can turn into long ones. Try to keep meetings from dragging on. If you leave someone looking at the clock thinking to themselves, “are you kidding, I have so much to do today,” that’s very bad. This is especially the case if you are visiting someone’s office. In the same way we don’t want to overstay our welcome in people’s homes, we don’t want to overstay our welcome in their place of work. Keep face to face meetings short and productive.

12. Follow up

Too often salespeople don’t follow up and instead wait for the client to get back in touch with them. Don’t do this! You are meeting with busy people. We are all busy people. If you had a meeting, you MUST follow up. Even if they loved you in the meeting, there’s a good chance they’ll forget to get back in touch. Sometimes potential customers are looking for salespeople to show the extra initiative. Make sure you always follow up a few days after the meeting.

If you keep these tips in mind I’m willing to bet that you’ll have great in-person meetings and see a huge increase in the success of your business as a result.

Thanks for reading.

Photo by Voka – Kamer van Koophandel Limburg

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