Connecting with a prospect over the phone or a video conference is a good start, but nothing is more effective than a face-to-face meeting.
Onsite meetings can be costly, particularly when travel is involved. But, if prepared, the added expense is well worth it. For local prospects, an onsite meeting should be a given part of your sales strategy, especially when it’s time to close.
This strategy doesn’t hold in the transactional world of single-user subscriptions. However, when a corporate client is considering a site-license of potentially a thousand users, a face-to-face meeting is a must.
If we’ve been diligent in working with the prospect, and have presented a strong case for our solution, the odds of getting a decision are many times greater in person than over the phone or via any other means. Sometimes it’s not that the prospect doesn’t want to sign, it’s just that they’re distracted by other demands. You need to help them to re-focus.
For opportunities that we must close this month or that we want to prevent from slipping another month, an onsite visit can work wonders! We mustn’t be timid. We only need to plan, execute, and enjoy the thrill of making a sale! As is said: “You can’t shoot the moose from the lodge.”
THE KAMIKAZE MISSION
I experienced many situations like this over the years. Always nervous about the potential outcome, I was able to tame my anxiety by getting ready for the on-site call. On one occasion, the client had completed their evaluation but didn’t know if they would be able to sign by the end of the month. The decision-maker and CEO (the signer) had many other issues in front of them. I was low on their list. But, I needed the sale to make my quota.
I asked the decision-maker when he and the CEO would next meet. He told me they had an off-site team event with several colleagues scheduled for the following Monday. Monday was the last day of the month and my last chance to make quota. I told the decision-maker that I wanted to arrive at the end of their business day with all the paperwork needed to complete the contract. He didn’t make any promises, but, most importantly, he didn’t object.
Brash to some, I was cashing in on the goodwill I had earned in diligently addressing the prospect’s needs. I felt I had established good rapport. Now was time to test it. With copies of the contract and invoice in hand, I met the decision-maker and CEO at the end of their day as anticipated. It was about 6 PM. The CEO appeared happy. He smiled and said: “I see you’ve come prepared.” At that moment I felt my assertiveness had just made his week a bit easier. He had one less item on his to-do list. Within minutes the $175,000 contract was signed.
A meeting with your prospect is the most valuable sales time you will have. Properly executed it will be the most memorable too.