SETTING IN-PERSON SALES MEETINGS
© 2011, Michael A. Brown
One of the “hot” marketing strategies nowadays is appointment-setting for field sales or a channel partner. Marketers are making lots of calls to lots of prospect companies, trying to convince them to agree to an in-person meeting. Unfortunately, some marketers are going about it in the wrong order! They pitch the appointment right off the bat, rather than first seeking the two prerequisites:
A likely business matchup, ascertained via good questioning and qualification.
Agreement by the prospect that there will be genuine value in a meeting … that it will not merely be a “grip ‘n' grin” session or a “dog and pony show.”
Absent the prerequisites, bad things almost always happen, such as …
The prospect refuses an in-person meeting, viewing it not as a valuable event, but rather as a vendor-centric pitch, or a geography-motivated (“our rep will be in your area”) drop-in.
The prospect agrees to meet but cancels before the meeting.
The sales person shows up but the prospect is not available or not even there! S\he “forgot.”
The meeting happens, but the participants are not authorized to act, so no sale results.
Marketing's credibility with sales drops sharply.
Best Advice: Resist the urge to meet prematurely. Refocus campaigns on establishing credibility, then viability, then desirability. Leverage your combined marketing … phone, e-mail, webinars, etc. … to the hilt. Then, when you do secure a meeting, it will have substance and a much greater likelihood of success. Because sales' time and prospects' attention are so precious, meet only with viable prospects who are excited about meeting.
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