This phrase is familiar to all of us, but it plays an especially critical part of the first part of the sales process: your first appointment. I remember working hard to get sales appointments, making phone calls, sending emails, waiting for my voicemail to be returned, practicing what I would say if I could get the decision maker to agree to meet with me. Once I landed the appointment, the preparation began. One thing I focused on is that all of the work to get the meeting as well as my credibility could be quickly diminished if I failed to do 1 thing: set the agenda for the meeting.
What do I mean by setting the agenda? Depending on how formal or informal the meeting was going to be, setting the agenda was critical. It meant I helped set the right expectations of what the meeting would be about: for me and the customer. If it was a ‘formal’ C Suite meeting, I would even come prepared with a written agenda. If it was a meeting with a current customer, someone important outside the C Suite, I would prepare an ‘informal’ agenda. This was a verbal ‘Purpose, Process, Payoff’ to the prospect/customer. This means ‘tell them my purpose for being here, what is in for them in the process, and what is the payoff for them as a result of me being here today.’
If you set the right agenda, formal/written or informal/spoken, it is a win-win for you and the customer. You are forced to prepare in advance as the sales/business representative, and you are also giving your customer an opportunity at the start of the meeting to ensure their expectations will be met. It is easier to change the course of the meeting early-vs. finding out later at the end of the appointment you were off course. Also, it can separate you from your competition and can help you be a trusted advisor. I can say some of my best interactions with customers and prospects resulted from having a clear, concise agenda. The best part is that you can be invited back for a second appointment: all by setting the agenda for your first appointment!
Amy Simatos DTM
AIM Training and Consulting, Inc.
Author of ‘From Zero to Sales Hero: How to Double Your Sales and Income in 90 Days’