So many variables in the all-important first sales call are out of the sales professional’s control, so why not make sure you optimize those aspects of the meeting you do control, including all the events leading up to the introductory handshake? Consider these tips to set the stage for a successful sales call:
Confirm the appointment. It reflects professionalism, pure and simple.
Have current and worthwhile conversation at the ready. Read today’s newspaper or the current weekly business publication for relevant ice-breaker conversation. Chatting about traffic or the weather displays an utter lack of effort, insight or imagination. Your opening comments (Positive Contact) represent your first opportunity to display your insight and knowledge. Don’t waste it on mindless chatter!
Be better than punctual. Arriving 5-10 minutes prior to your appointment time is a given. Allow yourself plenty of time for travel and final mental preparation, so that you will also arrive calm, collected, energized and ready to go. Build in a few extra minutes to organize your thoughts and mentally run through your presentation. This seems so obvious, doesn’t it? But be honest, how often have you wished you had another 10-15 minutes prior to a big sales call?
Treat everyone like the CEO. On your way to the meeting, treat every person you encounter with the same level of courtesy and engagement that you will extend to the individual(s) you are meeting. This includes the parking lot attendant, every individual you encounter in the elevator or lobby, and particularly the receptionist who greets you at the door. You never know who is connected to decision makers and their level of influence; and there is absolutely no down side to being nice to people with no impact on your sales call.
Obviously, the success of your sales call ultimately depends on your ability to engage your prospects and communicate your potential value to their organization. These tips will ensure that first meeting gets off on the right foot!