How to Prepare Customers for the Next Meeting
We are all busy. Whether it’s going from call to call, virtual meeting to virtual meeting, or just getting things done; we never seem to have enough time.
Inevitably, things slip, delay, priorities change—not because they need to change, but people’s attention is diverted to something else.
Dealing with the reality of people being too busy and constantly shifting focus requires us to do things differently; to engage our customers differently.
Use Their Time Well
First, we have to make sure we are using their time well. Second, in every interchange, we must help them move forward in accomplishing their goals.
What if we started thinking about, “How do we make sure our customers are well prepared to get things done in our next meeting?” If we start doing this, if we start helping the customer see progress, we are more likely to keep their attention. If we start doing this, we might actually find we are accomplishing more in each meeting–and we/they may need fewer meetings to achieve our shared goal.
Think of some of the meetings you have participated in, where the customer isn’t well prepared. How many times do we get into meetings where the right people aren’t participating? That slows us down; we have to schedule another meeting, often with days/weeks until we can get it scheduled.
Alternatively, we need some data to better understand customer requirements. How many times have we been in meetings asking for that and the customer says, “I’ll have to get back to you …” Again, we have to schedule another meeting, waiting days/weeks to get that data.
Or turn that around; the customer asks us for data/information that we weren’t prepared to provide, “We’ll have to get back to you.”
Making sure our customer is well-prepared for each meeting means we accomplish more, more quickly! We use our and their time much more effectively.
How do we help the customer be well-prepared for each meeting?
How to Prepare Yourself
To do this, we have to be prepared!
Yeah, I know many of you are thinking, “I just wing it! After all, I’ve sold for years. I know what I need to do. I have my standard pitch – why are you complicating things?”
We have to think about what we and the customer should talk about. What do we want to accomplish? Are we and the customer aligned with expectations of the meeting? How do we make sure the customer is as well prepared as we are? What are our shared expectations and goals for the meeting?
We could set an agenda and goals for the meeting, with the customer–before it ever happens.
We would make sure we had the right people and data from our side. The customer would do likewise.
We would both be prepared, accomplish the goal we had intended to achieve and then identify the next goal. As a result, we both become more purposeful, we both achieve more in fewer meetings, and we create greater value with each other, than we would do otherwise.
The trick to making sure your customer is prepared starts with making sure you are prepared and focused.
Is your customer prepared for your next meeting?