Most sales people have had the good fortune of having someone who helped them along the way. Some key person that taught them some of the subtle nuisances of successful selling. The little things that you can do as a sales professional that will make you stand out with the client and set you apart from the competition.
I was lucky enough to have one such individual when I first started in sales. We made a lot of sales calls together and he would always give me pointers, little tips and techniques that were all designed to improve my chances for success.
I remember the first time he made a call with me. We are in the car driving to the call, when he asked to see the agenda for the call. I’m thinking, WTF, I’m a week back from basic sales school and at no time did anyone ever mention an agenda. Dumbfounded by his request, I sheepishly asked, “what do you mean, agenda?” Not one to mince words he simply says; “If you want to be a sale professional act like one. Clients think you have an agenda, so you damn well better have one!”
Needless to say, from that point on, I utilized an agenda as part of my sales process.
So why should you use an agenda? What’s the point? Doesn’t the client already know what I’m there for?
There are multiple reasons why, starting with that fact that the majority of sales people simply don’t do it. Research indicates and my experience tells me, that roughly 1 in 8 sales reps use agendas. (printed and/or emailed) It differentiates you and demonstrates to the client that you are a professional, you have a plan, and that you respect their time.
Secondly, a well thought out and prepared agenda sets the tone for the meeting and express exactly what you hope to accomplish. An agenda will help to increase your effectiveness, keeping you (and the client) focused and on task, and driving towards the desired outcome. It doesn’t have to be complicated (the shorter the better) but it should state the purpose of the meeting, time allotted, and key topics of conversation,
Finally, the value in an agenda is that it allows the client to come prepared and ready to discuss specific topics. It also provides value by making sure both you and the client are on the same page. If you send the agenda to the client in advance (and you should), ask for their input. Simple asks like: “Is there anything else you’d like to cover? ” or “Is there anyone else that needs to or should be included in our meeting?”
Sometimes it is the little things in sales that make the difference. If you want to establish yourself as a true sales professional, incorporate agendas into your sales call process. Your clients will appreciate it, your calls will run smoother, be more effective, and you will differentiate yourself.
What’s your agenda? Do you use an agenda?
As always, your thought and comments are greatly appreciated.