You’re in your finest business attire, and you just introduced yourself to your prospect’s executive assistant. In 10 minutes the meeting will start, and you have the opportunity to speak to the person who may be responsible for one of the biggest sales of your career. A lot has led up to this moment, and you’re confident and ready.
No one lands a meeting with a major prospect by accident, and you’re no exception. With a lot of hard work, determination, communication, in-depth research, as well as countless rejections, some salespeople spend years putting in the effort before they’re rewarded with an all-too-brief meeting with their sales target.
Once the meeting is in the books, it’s time for four more important steps. Before you step foot into the foyer of your prospect’s office, and before you exchange pleasantries with the executive assistant, make sure you’re completely ready to maximize your time—and your prospect’s.
Two Weeks Prior
Leading up to your prospect agreeing to this meeting, you’ve read, researched, and otherwise studied their business and professional life. You know what your prospect needs from your company and how you can help them reach their next benchmarks and goals. You’re an expert on your prospect—if you weren’t, this meeting wouldn’t be happening.
Now it’s time to take your expertise and work it into detailed, yet concise statements. You have to anticipate their questions and have answers ready. No professional wants to listen to someone ramble on or speak inelegantly, and this is where you set yourself apart.
Rehearsing doesn’t mean memorizing. That would make your responses sound insincere. However, rehearsing will make you feel and appear prepared, and will help you maximize your time. You can also ask a coworker or manager to do a dry run with you so you can get feedback on your word choices, tone, and body language.
Two Days Prior
To keep your stress level down the day of the meeting, and ensure you have plenty of time to arrive, you must plan your travel. If you use public transportation, have a back-up plan. If you drive, know where you’ll park and if you need to pre-pay. Find out how far you have to walk to the building and the route you’ll take to reach your prospect’s office.
It may be impractical (and a bit awkward) to test your travel plans a few days before the meeting, but if that’s an option, time yourself so there are no surprises the day of your meeting.
Twenty Minutes Prior
Arrive at the building and find a restroom. Freshen up, drink some water, stretch, and take care of your final preparations. Try to arrive and greet the executive assistant 10 minutes before the meeting. Your goal is to feel fresh, focused, and ready as soon as you enter the office.
Too Little Time?
Sometimes you don’t have much time before a meeting with a major prospect, especially when they’ve fit you into their busy schedule on short notice. In this case the timeline is condensed, but still relevant.
Before the meeting:
- Practice your pitch and prepare your answers
- Know your route and have contingency plans for how to arrive early
- Visit the restroom to touch up and focus before presenting yourself to the prospect
- Remind yourself of the central purpose of the meeting
One of the most important steps to take before your meeting is to remember why you’re there: to help your prospect. The goal isn’t to make a sale, although that’s a happy consequence of the meeting going well. You’re there to help your prospect solve a problem or reach their benchmarks faster, and your attitude in the meeting should convey just that.
When you land a quick meeting with a CEO or top-level executive, you have to be ready to maximize your time—and theirs. Document every detail, keep up to date on every interaction, and have the information at your fingertips to review before your meeting. Follow these steps before you walk through the executive’s office door to feel confident and capable.
Share “4 Steps to Take Before a Meeting with a Major Prospect” On Your Site