So you got the appointment with the prospect. What now? How do you turn this appointment into a sale? How do you maximize your time and process to take advantage of your appointment and grow your business. This is part two on how to do this. Take a listen.
Hey everyone, it's Robert Poole with the Growing Your B2B Small Business podcast. Today is part two on the subject of handling in-person or virtual appointments. If you haven't listened to the last episode, you want to do that, as this episode picks up where the last one left off. Let's get started.
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Hey everyone, I hope you're having a fantastic day. In the last episode, we talked about how to handle appointments that either you set yourself or have someone set up for you. This episode ran a little long and I didn't want to leave any important information out, so I decided to split it into two, and this is the second half. It picks up right after the last one left off, as this wasn't planned. So if you haven't listened to the last episode, please do so, as I'm going to jump right into the conversation. So here we go.
Okay, so back to specifics, what do we actually say and do in there? I think the outline and the things that I try to do, first, you're obviously going to introduce yourself quickly, but keep in mind they don't really care about you. They're just being courteous, and you're letting them size you up. I mean, this kills a lot of people who are nervous, they just want to go in there and start talking, and the prospect doesn't get a word in, and it's just totally the wrong way to approach it. So introduce yourself quickly, know that they really don't care about you or your background, and then get back to them, get them talking about themselves, about their company, personal things that you pick up like the Yoda thing. And spend most of the time listening with your whole body. Don't just sit there and academically listen. When they're talking, lean forward, acknowledge what they're saying. And then when you do talk and answer their questions, end it with an open question back at them. Don't ever answer the question and then stop.
The main goal that you need to try to set up in the beginning of the meeting is focusing on finding out what the result is that's important to them, and more importantly, why it's important to them. All selling is emotional, and people get this idea that in B2B, that it's all logic based and it's all numbers and all this kind of stuff. And it's like, that's absolutely not true. And so you got to figure out, it's hard to find sometimes, but you got to figure out what the emotional trigger points are for them. I mean, it's things like, are they trying to impress their spouse or their employees with what a big shot they are by using your product or your service? To feel like a smart savvy business person using it, to take away some pain that really bothers them, something they hate to do, or it's going to solve some huge problem that's a pain in their life.
And those are all emotional things. And sales is all emotion. And if you're asking questions and then paying attention to the body language, they're going to tell you when you hit on those hot buttons. I mean, you can see them change positions, sit up, lean forward, their eyes change or open, it's a variety of ways you can see it happening if you just pay attention. Only when you've found the emotional triggers and got them excited, do you start talking about logical things like features and benefits and using urgency, scarcity and fear of loss. That's where the sales part of it comes in, and the other part is really just marketing.
The whole point of this last step is just to prevent buyer's remorse. Even if you don't have a cancel window, so to speak, making a client feel duped or regretting their decision is just as bad for business, so don't do it. Make sure that you always end it with those logical reasons so they can use that to justify their purchase in their mind after they've signed on the dotted line.
So next, have your scripts memorized. Everybody fights me on the script thing. And over the years I've had sales people fight, I don't know why. Everyone has scripts that they use. If you're in business and if you meet with clients or even if you meet with employees, your friends, whoever, you say the same things over and over again, the same phrases, the same ways of thinking and all that. The only question is, is that thought out, or is it just a habit that you got into because you tried it once and then in the next situation, you just did it again because it was easy, because you drill on the first conversation and you kept going like that. And then after a while, you've got a script, it's just not written down and you just have the thought with it.
So intentionally thinking out your scripts and wording it perfectly so that it's very clear and very simple how you can help them. And really, this is all they care about. They don't care about you and it's not personal, but they really don't. What they care about is them and how it's going to affect their life. And then, you want to involve stories of who you helped in the past and the results and things like, what were they afraid of? What was their hesitation? What do they find after working with you? That sort of thing.
Another thing obviously is your "basic objection handling", and having those memorized. And again, there are common ones. People say, "Well, it's different every time because this customer," no it isn't. The same themes that come up over and over and over again. And when you're talking to a prospect, they're going to have the same concerns as other prospects have had and there's at most 10 of them, but probably more like five of the major ones. So, the point is to have those scripted and think about the answers in advance so that you're not just winging it, which is what most salespeople do.
And then finally, you got to have some kind of smooth transition to your CTA or your call to action, when the timing's right. If you don't think it's a good fit for them, you also need to a polite to tell them that, without saying, "Hey, this is not going to work for you." You want to come up with something a little bit more elegant than that. And then, end the meeting on a personal note to bring them back to that initial feel good state that you hopefully got them to at the beginning with the rapport building.
A few other random tips. Number one, never bad mouth competitors. I mean, they may be using a competitor or have used them in the past or consider using them. But acknowledge that not everyone's a good client for your service, and there's nothing wrong with those other competitors, I'm sure that are nice people and do a decent job. You just happened to think that your solution is better. But when you do that, when you pick on somebody in particular that lowers you in the prospect's eyes, so don't ever do that. We talked about this a minute ago, but spend most of the meeting listening instead of talking. I mean, geez, this is probably one of the biggest problems salespeople have is they're nervous again because of this thing, they're working their one lead and they're nervous to get the deal, so they start jabbering and technobabble and barfing features and benefits and everything, instead of asking questions and then shutting up and let the prospect talk.
Another one, if you don't know the answer, don't fake it. If you're new to the industry or you just don't know the answer, because you're not involved in that part of it, be honest, and let them know, "Hey, I don't know the answer to that, but I'll tell you what, I'll find out. I'm going to write this down right now and I'll get back to you within 24 hours." And all that's going to do is engender even more respect for them to you.
And then this is a funny one, but you think it would be common sense. Call and confirm your meetings. Send an email to confirm, a reminder and possibly a calendar invite. We've had clients over the years that they had a meeting that we scheduled for them and they're in a rural area where everything's remote. And so they literally drove three hours for this meeting, and then the prospect didn't show up, and they wonder what happened and they get mad. It's like, did you call and confirm? And they'll, no. I mean, come on, just use common sense. So that's a big one.
And then, the last subject is this "new normal" that we're in. As of the recording of this, it appears the pandemic is coming to an end or at least business is starting to get back to more normal. But the whole virtual appointment thing over Zoom or whatever, in the past that was really relegated to large corporations that could afford it. And even then, it was still not preferred, even if you're talking to somebody on the other side of the world. Now everybody, because of the last year or so, even your grandmother and your landscaper uses it. So we're all getting more comfortable. I'm a very private person, so the idea of being on camera was very uncomfortable for me at first. But over the past year, I've been forced to do it, and now it's just the same as talking to somebody in person. It's not going away, so if you haven't really embraced that, I'm sorry, but it's a fact of life right now, and a fact of business, if you want to succeed, so you got to get comfortable with it.
I mean, there really isn't substitute for in-person face-to-face meeting. So if we have a choice, then yeah, we want to do that. But video conferencing is really the next best thing, and you've got to learn how to do it, how to use your camera and "the rules of presentation". Because it is different than being in person, and it's different than being on the phone. Virtual appointments, they also have a lower show rate. It's much easier to blow somebody off over the internet than if it's in person, they know you're going to show up at their office. You've got to do more reminders, more methods of reminding them, text, email, phone calls, whatever, and be more frequent with them just to get their attention. And you've got to do more working on setting up the compelling reason to show up for the meeting. Again, if it's in person and you show up at their office, they feel obligated to meet with you. but if they can blow you off because it's virtual, they can have a pretty good reason to show up for that meeting.
And even though you can see somebody on video, you lose a lot of your energy on camera, just like you do with the phone. You ever had a meeting with somebody, you walk into their office or vice versa, and then suddenly that the tone of the room just changes. The air pressure, very subtle sounds, you can see their entire body, how they walk, et cetera? All that information is lost when you go with phone or video. I mean, let's face it. Most of the time, you see the upper body. I mean, they could be butt-naked below their belly button for all you know. I remember they used to talk about studies that say you lose 80% of your energy or whatever over the phone, rapport, versus in person. And there's another study recently that refuted that. But I think we can all agree that you're going to lose a lot of it over the phone and definitely a lot of it over video. So it's just not the same thing, but it is a decent substitute these days, and even better than phones.
Point is for that lost energy, you have to make that up on the phone and video. I mean, you've heard the camera adds 10 pounds, well probably takes away 30% of your emotion, your enthusiasm and your energy, and you need to compensate for that. So you really need to go overboard to the point where you feel goofy or weird because you're being so animated and so enthusiastic, and you're speaking up more than you normally would. Because on the other end of the camera, it's going to look completely normal. But if you're just talking normal, they're going to think you're just dead over there, in person or over the phone, same concept.
Other little things, I mean, as we've all seen in the last year, goofy things on the internet with people doing crazy stuff on Zoom. Be intentional about your background. I'm not personally a fan of green screens, particularly on video conferencing, because it can look kind of cheesy, but I mean, if you can't make your background more professional, you have to do that. Be aware of what's showing in your background and the message that that is sending. If you're trying to appeal to a certain demographic, have things that that demographic is going to relate to, because as you're talking, they're going to look at your background and pick things up, consciously or subconsciously. So all that stuff matters.
And again, all this stuff seems like it would be common sense, but we forget about this because we're all human. I mean, things like making sure your cell and your instant messaging is off, anything in the background that's turned off so you don't distract the other person. When you're in an in-person meeting, that the people know that you're not to be disturbed unless absolutely necessary in a physical meeting, but in a virtual meeting, you don't have that, so you kind of have to manage it yourself. And regardless of how you dress day to day, don't get lazy. I mean, a lot of people have totally changed the way they show up on video conferencing these days because they feel, "Well I'm in my house. I should be able to wear my pajamas."
If you wore a suit before this and that's appropriate for your prospects, you better put one on before the call. You can take it off 10 minutes later, it doesn't matter. But some prospects may be in their pajamas at home and that's fine. But hey, they're the ones who are paying you, not the other way around. Video is definitely different and in-person is still preferred and hopefully you can do that. But in the meantime, it can be even more effective than the phone, which is the standard way to do it in the old days. Bottom line is you got to get used to it and you got to get comfortable. So if you haven't got there yet, it's here to stay. And so it's a fact of doing business today, if you want to stay in business.
So takeaways from this episode, little things like showing up professionally at a meeting, treating non decision-makers, the staff and receptionists, everything with respect and winning them over because of how much influence they have with the decision maker. Then creating rapport with the decision maker in a variety of ways, and then having your meeting agenda and a plan of how you're going to do things, your words intentionally scripted and memorized. And the biggest thing for, like I said, probably the biggest thing out of this episode, be honest and focused on them and not on you and your product or service. And then shut up and let them talk, spend most of your time asking questions, instead of talking about yourself and your company. They don't care about you. And don't let yourself get emotionally attached to the deal and the solution to that, get more leads. And then finally on virtual, it's here to stay. So spend the time, learn how to use it, make sure you're up in your energy and treat it like a real meeting.
So that's all I have for today, and thanks for listening. I'll talk to you soon.
Thanks for listening today. I hope you learned something you can implement right away. I know your time is valuable and it's really an honor to serve you. Please subscribe and rate the show on your favorite podcast platform and give me your honest feedback. Also, I put together a short e-book on some of the top lessons I've learned in 20 years owning a B2B business. You can download a free copy at growyourb2bcompany.com.