Preparing for a sales meeting is not a new piece of advice, but experienced advisors often shortcut the lead-up to a meeting, missing critical opportunities to win more sales as a result.
Top life insurance and annuities prospects warrant your best sales performance, and the only way to deliver that experience is to enter a meeting prepared, confident, and poised. And they can tell when you have not taken the meeting as seriously as you could have.
In a more public arena, you can see this dynamic play out in NFL press conferences over and over again.
Regardless of how you feel about Bill Belichick and the Patriots, we can all agree that Belichick is a national treasure when it comes to press conferences. He does not tolerate poorly prepared questions. He shuts them down and moves on after a frustrated one-word answer and a look of disappointment. For journalists, Belichick’s handling of bad questions is an example of how important it is to prepare good questions ahead of time because you may not get a second try.
We might laugh when a sports journalist fumbles a question at an NFL conference, but the reality is that many of us are guilty of entering sales meetings as equally unprepared. The more experienced we become, the more likely we are to “wing it.” We don’t prepare questions ahead of time. We don’t rehearse. In some cases, we might not even research the prospect.
We’ve had hundreds of sales meetings before this one, so we go in with a false sense of confidence and often miss easy opportunities for big wins by virtue of our lack of preparation. Just as a poorly formed question sounds silly in a televised press conference, so does a poorly formed (and uninformed) question corrode our reputation in a sales meeting.
To deliver a sales experience that earns you the respect of prospects, prepare for your meetings by doing the following:
1. Research the prospect.
Don’t just look at their website and their LinkedIn connections, dig into their space—their company history, the articles written about them, the major happenings in the industry, and the behaviors of their competitors. You might even place a few calls to mutual connections to learn more than what’s available online.
2. Refine your questions.