The first meeting you have with a potential customer is crucial, since the impression your sales professionals give on this occasion will be one of the most important factors in whether or not the prospect chooses to buy from you.
If the client goes away from the meeting with a positive feeling about the person they’ve just met and what they had to say, you've made the vital first steps on the path to bringing in new business. Ultimately, customers will feel much more positive about entering into a relationship with a brand that’s represented by someone they like.
To really get the best out of a first meeting, your sales team need to be experts at starting the discussion on the right foot. Here are four powerful conversation starters that can help your salespeople make an immediate positive impression:
1. ‘Here’s how I see your industry today’
In B2B sales meetings, the client will be looking for reassurances that you have a level of understanding not only of their business, but of their industry and the market conditions they’re currently facing.
Getting a conversation under way by demonstrating knowledge of the prospect’s sector can help your sales professionals put the client at ease. It also goes a long way to showing the potential customer that, as a business, you have the expertise and insights required to deliver a truly valuable service.
As well as covering the most significant trends in the relevant industry at the moment, the conversation should emphasize what this all means for the client and how it relates to your product offering.
This could require some in-depth research and planning for your sales team, so it’s important that people are given sufficient time to prepare before the meeting.
2. ‘What are your biggest challenges right now?’
Small talk about the weather or the location of the meeting is all well and good, but most busy people will appreciate it if the person doing the selling gets straight to the point and asks direct, relevant questions.
The challenges the customer hopes to overcome with the help of your services should be a key focal point of the meeting, so there’s nothing wrong with being forthright and asking what their biggest concerns are at the moment. A savvy prospect who wants to test you might turn this around and ask you to identify their biggest challenges, so sales professionals should have done their research and prepared an answer.
One of the biggest benefits of this approach is that it puts the client’s needs front and center. Your sales staff should always be focused on getting the best results for customers, not on improving their conversion rates or earning more commission.
3. ‘Here is what I will show you today’
Starting a meeting by clarifying to the prospect what they hope to demonstrate over the course of the conversation is a good way for a salesperson to show they’re prepared, organized and determined not to waste any time.
It’s also an opportunity to refer back to what the potential customer has already been promised. If they’ve agreed to a meeting to discuss a very specific project they’re involved in, for example, this is the time to reiterate that focus and reassure the client they haven’t been lured in on false pretenses.
This helps strengthen trust and also shows professionalism and confidence on the part of the salesperson.
4. ‘This is how I see your business growing’
Business customers will always be keen to hear about possibilities for their company to grow and evolve. Sales professionals who begin a conversation by outlining what the client can achieve in the future could find they instantly have their audience’s attention.
Furthermore, plotting a potential growth path for a customer will provide opportunities to discuss how your product offering can help them along the way. Evidence such as case studies and client testimonials can come in very useful here.
This approach can lead to a win-win for your sales team: making a positive impression on the client and getting them excited about the future, while explaining how your services can help them make this vision a reality.