Several templates are knocking about for how to conduct a first meeting in B2B solution sales. I’ve always pretty much stuck to the one I first got taught way back in the day by two guys within 3 months of each other. I was amazed at the time that they were the same. One was by some fella employed by HP to teach their resellers, the other a proudly Welsh sole practitioner called Wynn Rees. Although the odd tweak has naturally kicked-in since.
I was clearing out some papers to make room in a drawer the other night and came across a sheet of paper headed ‘Meeting Outline’. I’ve no idea where it’s from, but I was intrigued it was different to what I do (probably why I kept it whenever I came across it).
Without going into too much detail, expect upto 60 minutes for this example of a pre-arranged solution-sale first call. The flow can be slightly different dependent upon whether you’re sparking off discussions or a formal bid process is underway. Yet the basics apply equally in each case.
The form I found includes a demo in the middle, which could just as easily be a description of what you offer, if other than software that seems to be the case here.
The first part is about developing, confirming and exploring a Mutual Agenda. This is interesting emphasis, as typically this can get glossed over in just a couple of sentences.
The second involve Summarise Issues, standard requirements search time, with an entertaining aside to Map Goals. I wonder if pulling this topic out on its own allowed for documentation with the prospect, and of timelines, players, etc?
After the demo section, Issues and Goals Confirmation occured, meaning anything cropping up during ‘demo’ (or description) can be aded to the mix, before the closing routines.
The ‘close’ element is also interesting because it’s split in two; Agreed Next Action is first then as a useful reminder, Diary Entry polishes everything off.
It looks like an experienced sales person has created this, as these aren’t headings I’d expect to see in ‘traditional’ sales training. I say this as I can’t detect an underlying (almost academic) methodolgy beneath it, and also there’s no sub-headings for taxonomies that surely must exist under ‘Issues’ and ‘Actions’, which could mean the rep is familiar with options for these.
Still, a decent reminder of things you may want to add to your current ‘first call’ framework.