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Print These 8 Rules for Initial B2B Sales Meetings – They’re That Good!

Since 1995, Integrateurs Intn’l Inc. has scheduled over 5000 B2B conference calls or meetings with qualified prospects for our Clients products/services/solutions. In total we have delivered over 7500 leads. We maintain a strong feedback loop with our Clients & Prospects on the status of those opportunities, and, from that feedback, we have been able to detect patterns and best practices around your sales calls.

The initial B2B sales call is vitally important. It’s like a first date – and a blind date at that, in most cases. You want to put your best foot forward and make a great first impression… maybe put on your Sunday best. We do our best to take much of the blindness out of it for you.

Internalize the following rules for initial sales calls. They are truly empowering!

1. Research

Knowledge is power. Compile some information. It pays to know some particulars about your prospect, their products, their competitive position, and their customer base. In our B2B lead generation process, we work to gather as much information as possible. In Integrateurs discovery phase, we identify which data points are actionable to your sales team. We gather information on prospects’ distinctive pain points and challenges specific to our Client’s solution. Clients receive a full report encapsulating all the pertinent information, detailed call notes, and general information about the prospect enabling you to prepare properly.

2. Conviction

Your words, your body language, your voice inflection… it all tells a story. Have conviction in your product and it will rub off on your prospects. Our team becomes the front line for our Clients. We become ambassadors for our Clients products/services/solutions, and we always convey value and enthusiasm. Our Clients can go into every Integrateurs opportunity with the expectation that the seed has been planted. The prospect is awaiting you and willing to learn more about your solution.

3. Respecting the Prospect’s Time

Quite simply, we’ve found it pays to ask. A strong conference call prospect confirmed will be your best friend when it comes to minimizing no-shows. And when you get to the big dance, you might say, “I know we allotted thirty minutes for this. I just want to make sure that still works for you.” Identifying the customer’s time frame helps you direct the flow of the meeting. Once the door is opened confirming the time frame at the top of the meeting is a good practice, but be flexible. We have seen thirty minute appointments turn into hour long conversations, and longer, once the prospect is properly engaged.

4. Goals

State the objective of the conf call or meeting early and clearly. You might try something like this:

Thanks again for sharing some time. The purpose of this meeting is to learn more about some of your needs and challenges. Perhaps we can determine if there might be a fit for working together. We did some homework but we’d like to hear more about [their business, their processes, etc.].

Integrateurs opportunities are qualified according to our Client’s qualification criteria. However, we always advise Clients to allow 5-10 minutes at the beginning of a call/meeting for additional discovery, so the prospect can expound on information gathered in the initial call. Engage the prospect immediately.

5. Listen

The old sales adage that you should listen 2/3 of the time holds some water. For certain, you can talk yourself out of a sale… you can’t listen yourself out of a sale. Have prospects expound on their answers to gain a clearer understanding of the situation. Often Integrateurs opportunities are positioned as a discovery call. The expectation is that, at the very least, our Client will get the necessary information needed to build a strong business case for their solution. And we advise at the end of every sales opportunity there should be a forward action scheduled for follow up.

6. Qualification

The sales opportunity should already be qualified against the primary criteria before you even step into the meeting. From there, you need to uncover more about how the prospect buys –their timeframe, budget, authority. Most importantly, find out whether you can provide a value-added solution to the prospect.

Integrateurs provides a variety of campaigns combining email and teleprospecting, and we try to qualify prospects for BANT, (budget, authority, need, and timeframe), which is not always possible. We do provide opportunities aimed at identifying prospects in the research or discovery phase. We’ve found that often a prospect may not even know they have needs/inefficiencies until they are shown a better mousetrap. Our objective is to put our Clients in front of prospects that have a pain, challenge, or frustration that you can solve – prospects that can buy or influence the purchase of your solution.

7. Offering a Solution

You listened well and hopefully you were using the information to tweak your presentation to include some of the information you’ve learned about the customer. The most powerful value prop draws on things your prospect revealed about their particular situation. We make it easy for you by positioning you as having a solution to the problem. We advise our Clients to always schedule next steps based on the needs-gathering they’ve done in that initial contact session. This will allow for rapport and trust to be built while being mindful of the prospects time. A presentation or demo can then be scheduled and personalized to fit the needs and challenges of any prospect, and might include other parties from both sides.

8. Concluding with Next Steps

“What happens next?” We alluded earlier, the goal of the first sales call should always be to schedule a second sales call – a second conf call/appointment – demo – face to face presentation – a 3-6 month follow up, or whatever!. Get whatever activity you choose onto the calendar and never leave it up to the prospect to call you back. Most sales managers agree, most sales are lost through inadequate or improper follow up procedures.

Keep plugging away!