The second step in the sales process is the Meeting. This is simply progressing from the very short exchange during the Initial Contact to having a longer and more established conversation. The Meeting step can be in the form of any of the following:

  • Appointment: You schedule an appointment with a prospect, and that could either be in person, on the phone, or in an online setting.
  • Meet for coffee, drink, or meal: You meet with the prospect at a neutral location.
  • Extended cold call: You can transition to the Meeting during a cold call and meet over the phone.
  • Meet at event: If you meet a prospect at an event, you can progress to the Meeting sales step at that same event.

I give you this list to demonstrate that once you transition to a longer and more established conversation, you are progressing to the Meeting step of the sales process. The more you are aware of this transition, the more able you will be to focus on the goals and objectives for that particular step in the sales process.

Length of Time for the Meeting
The Meeting step can be anywhere between ten to sixty minutes in length. When set- ting an appointment from a cold call, asking for a fifteen-to-twenty-minute meeting seems to be a good amount of time where you can get the prospect to commit to hav- ing a real conversation without asking for too much time. And if you send the prospect a formal calendar invite, you can send a thirty-minute calendar invite even when they agree to a fifteen-to-twenty-minute meeting. If you sell a fairly simple product, you could probably ask for a five-to-ten-minute meeting or call. If you have a fairly complex product and you know that you will have a number of different questions, you may want to position the meeting as a thirty-to-sixty-minute discussion and put the full sixty minutes on the prospect’s calendar. However, you will have to build a little more interest and rapport with the prospect in order to get him or her to agree to a sixty- minute block of time for a first meeting.

Goals for the Meeting
It can be easy for a salesperson to think that if a prospect agrees to meet, that prospect must be interested in buying the product, so the salesperson can just show up for the meeting and sell the product. But it is still too early for that type of expectation, and these are the things that you should focus on during the Meeting sales process step:

  • Gather information: The Meeting is one of your best opportunities to learn about the prospect, and one of your main goals should be to gather information.
  • Qualify the prospect: This is where you need to start to qualify the prospect to determine if he or she really fits with what you sell and if the prospect will have a decent chance of purchasing from you.
  • Build interest in your product: Try to create more interest in the product you sell and the company that you work for. However, you do not need to build interest to a level where the prospect wants to purchase your product; you only need to get the prospect interested enough so that he or she is open to learning more about what you have to offer.
  • Close the prospect on the next step: The close is to get the prospect to agree to move to the Presentation sales process step.

Distribution of Attention
When you reach the Meeting sales step, the balance of attention can level out with you focusing 50 percent of the attention on the prospect and the other 50 percent on you. A good way to do that is to make the first half of the Meeting about the prospect and the second half about you.

Questions to Ask
Here are some of the different types of questions that you could ask in the Meeting:

  • Current Environment Questions: These are good questions to ask early in the Meeting as they can be a great way to show curiosity and learn what is currently going on with the prospect.
  • Pain Questions: The Meeting is the best place to ask as many of your pain questions that you can.
  • Qualifying Questions: The Meeting is the best place for you to deter- mine if the prospect has a good chance of buying from you and your qualifying questions will help you to do that.