How To Prepare For an Important Sales Meeting

Sales podcast ep 23 How to Prepare for an Important Sales Meeting
Sales Podcast, The Slow Pitch
The Slow Pitch Sales Podcast
How To Prepare For an Important Sales Meeting

Prepare For Important Sales Meeting

Lane has an important meeting coming up. What should he do to prepare, while he’s in the meeting, and what are the most important parts of the meeting to be prepared for so he has the highest likelihood of succeeding?

Sometimes salespeople feel stressed before an important meeting. The more stress, the more likely it is that you’ll fail. You can’t think straight and you can’t operate correctly under high-stress situations…that is unless you prepare.

Anyone in sports or other stressful jobs knows that if you know a stressful situation is coming up, it’s very important to be prepared for any aspect. It increases your likelihood of being successful.

In this episode, Lane talks about the upcoming sales meeting he has scheduled and asks, “What are some things I should keep in mind to get the most out of the meeting?” We talk through the prep work that’s required, how to talk/ask about pain? What are some questions to avoid because they’re too painful? When is the right time to ask for the sale (spoiler alert! The answer is never!)?

Key Points:

  • What are your expectations?
  • What are their expectations?
  • Opening Statement – Preparing them for the meeting.
  • When to turn the other way and tell them you’re not a good fit
  • What to ask when they won’t tell you if there is another decision-maker
  • What are reporter-style questions in sales?

We talk through important aspects of the meeting to have the most success and how to transition from one area to another.

Sales can be a little stressful, so being prepared makes a huge difference. Listen in as we talk through all the steps it takes to get the sale!


NOTE: We have a BE READY call sheet attached to this post to help you be ready for your next meeting or call. We walk through a lot of it in this episode.

Related Episodes: 

Other Resources: 


Music: "Clydesdale Funk" by Cast of Characters, written by: Dustin Ransom.

The Episode

Rob  00:00

They want to know that you have a good understanding and a good grasp of what their business does, what their problems are and what you’re trying to fix or solve. Hey, everybody, welcome to The Slow Pitch Podcast. And there is Lane how’re you doing today?

Lane  00:23

I’m doing great. Rob, how are you?

Rob  00:24

I’m doing well. And I know, we have something we need to talk about. That’s more related directly to you instead of a question that somebody sent in. So give it to me what’s going on?

Lane  00:36

Yeah, so tomorrow, I have an important initial meeting with a with a potential client. I want to make sure I’m as prepared as I can be. I’ve done research online, for the person I’m gonna be talking to. I’ve interacted with them a little bit. But I want to know what else I should keep in mind during my meeting.

Rob  00:53

All right, let’s talk about how to prepare for an important meeting. By the way, if you’re new here, I’m Rob.

Lane  00:59

And I’m Lane.

Rob  01:01

And today we’re going to talk about what to do and what not to do before a big meeting. And yes, I said not to do because there are some things that are going to get in your own way if you do these things. Let’s get started.

V/O  01:13

This is The Slow Pitch Podcast.

Rob  01:17

Alright, so before we get started too far into this, I know, it probably sounds familiar here that we’ve talked about how to prepare for a big meeting. But there are a couple of things that you shouldn’t be doing before a meeting. And I want to talk a little bit about that. But I also want to kind of go through some basic elements of things that you should be doing as well, that maybe we haven’t covered before. So if you’re feeling like this is a repeat, it’s not. And I want you to kind of know that there’s a couple of bullet points that I want you to get out of this. So for me, it’s the preparation, both the mental and the things that you need to do physically to get prepared. And then also the expectations side of things. And that’s kind of some of the mental but it’s also some of the other things that are expectations from the other person. And then there’s some basic high level, I’ll say, the reporter style that I want you to go through, and being a good reporter in a sales call. So with that, I have a bunch of questions that I’ve kind of prepared for lay knowing that we’re going to talk a little bit about his big meeting coming up. You mentioned it, and we just had to we’re going to talk about that. So do you want to share with me the type of business that is

Lane  02:21

it? Sure. It’s a restaurant, Rob?

Rob  02:23

Alright. So it’s in the restaurant industry in which, you know, obviously, this is a place with seating and indoor or outdoor, maybe or, but basically full service? Or is this quick serve?

Lane  02:33

It’s more of quick service.

Rob  02:35

Okay? So and honestly, it doesn’t really matter. The reason I start to ask questions, it’s one of those things that have become a little bit inherent in what I do. Now, whenever somebody starts telling me information, my brain all of a sudden wants to know more information. So I start asking more questions. And yes, when I’m networking, it gets me in trouble. So in other words, I’m not networking, all of a sudden, somebody’s like, I do this. And I start asking them a bunch of questions, and they think I really care about it, which is okay. But I find myself getting further into a conversation than I should be. So know that that part of that question was as quick-serve as a sit down as it almost doesn’t matter in terms of sales. But it’s one of those things that you need to train your brain to start asking questions when you hear a statement that could go either way. And the reason I say that is when you’re dealing with people in sales, you want to find their pain, they may give you an answer. But until you start to clarify their answer and start asking more questions and more questions, you’ll know exactly what they mean by their answer. Because a lot of people like to throw smoke at you. And cloud the answer, maybe not be clear on purpose so that they can come back later and go, Well, that’s not really what I want it. But thanks for your information, that kind of thing. So the more questions that you asked, the better. So with that, knowing that it’s a quick-serve restaurant and knowing that this is kind of an important meeting, which tells me this is kind of a good client that you’d like to be able to have. To me, my first question to you Lane would be, what are your expectations from this upcoming meeting? What are you expecting to get out of that?

Lane  03:58

Well, primarily, I want to let me say that I think I’ve got a decent idea of what, what his pain points are. But I want to be able to walk away with a little more details, as you know, on his business, what kind of impact he’s looking for, from the services that I might be able to provide so that we can really tailor something that meets his needs.

Rob  04:17

So your expectations are to walk in be able to get some information from him so that you can know what he needs.

Lane  04:23

At the end of the day, it’d be great to be able to walk out that we have an agreement on something but you know, I don’t have that expectation.

Rob  04:28

What’s the likelihood that that could happen? Zero to 100?

Lane  04:31

I would say maybe 25 to 30.

Rob  04:33

Okay. All right. So that so that’s a good expectation. You don’t really expect to walk out with that it could happen but it’s unlikely. Right? Right. So that’s interesting. Okay, so now my next question would be what are his expectations for this coming meeting?

Lane  04:46

Yeah, I probably have not done a great job of explaining what will what we’d be talking about.

Rob  04:51

Okay. In this scenario, right now, that’s a good learning point for anybody listening that if you get into this position where you’re like setting up a meeting and you have to answer the question, what are the what is their expectation? You’re thinking about your own sale versus what do they need, which is totally understandable. I do the same thing sometimes. But once I stop, and part of this whole episode is going to be about driving that home. But also, in the end, we’re going to hopefully have it together a little bit of a document for you to be able to look at and refer to so that you can know whether or not you’re focused on the right things in your sales call. So we’ll put that on the website when it’s time at If you haven’t set that up correctly. Now, let’s say and by correctly, I just mean, you should have maybe explained to him, Hey, when we sit down, we’re probably going to spend, what, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 40 minutes? What would be the right answer for that?

Lane  05:38

Yeah, I would say 20 to 30 minutes, just, you know, talking about business.

Rob  05:41

Twenty to 30 minutes talking about what you’re looking to try to accomplish by our meeting. Right? So if you’re going to sit down with somebody, and it would be nice to walk in and know, why am I meeting with you? Right? That’s the whole thing. So you’re gonna want to say I’m going to spend this much time with you. And here’s what we’re going to try to get accomplished in this meeting. And part of that conversation and part of the explanation should even be and I fully expect you to have a bunch of questions. Because if you don’t have questions, I’d be a little bit concerned. You know, you’re you, you know, I know you don’t know everything that I do or what we can do for you. So I would expect you to have a bunch of questions for me, and you should have some of those. But more importantly, I think I’m going to have a whole bunch of questions for you so that I can better understand what your needs are. And once we go through that whole meeting, at the end of the meeting, what I want to make sure that you understand and do what do you remember what his name is?

Lane  06:32

It’s Tim,

Rob  06:32

It’s Tim. Okay, one of the things that I fully expect you to be able to do after this meeting is Tim, I expect you to say to me, you are not a good fit to talk to me ever again. We don’t ever need to talk about this again. And I’m completely okay with you telling me that I wish I could work with you. I totally get it if it’s not a good fit. I’d rather you tell me that as early as possible. But at the same time, if you at the end of that meeting, when we get done, you say to me, Hey, you know what I would like to get more information. And what do we do next? asked me at that point, when you feel like it’s time because at that point, it’s time, we need to talk a little bit about what we need to do or what we can do for you. So it’s kind of a two-way conversation. Are you comfortable with that, Tim? And that’s really the way that that conversation could go. So it’s preparing his mind to say, alright, I’m gonna be asking questions, he’s gonna ask me a bunch of questions, and we’re gonna kind of figure out what we’re gonna do. That’s really what you want him to walk away understanding, before you have that meeting, for anybody listening, if you haven’t done that before your next meeting, there is nothing wrong with picking up the phone before your meeting the day before even and calling him up or her up and saying, Hey, you know, one thing I forgot to mention is just a little bit about what our meeting is going to be about tomorrow. So you’re a little prepared, and I want to make sure that you have you’re comfortable. And so let me kind of quickly go through if you don’t mind, here’s what I expect to have happen in that meeting tomorrow. So then the next question is that I have for you is, is there anything that you have done already to prepare? Already for the meeting?

Lane  07:53

I feel like I have, but I feel that you’re gonna tell me I’m not that all that prepared. So

Rob  07:59

I’m not sure that that’s the case. But I’m just asking you so that I don’t say something that you can say, Hey, I’m already doing this.

Lane  08:03

I feel like a lot of my preparation has been based on past conversations and understanding, you know, what their pain points are. And then I’ve thought about what those are, I’ve thought about how I can approach some of those pain points. But at the same time, I don’t know that that’s, you know, this first meeting is going to be the time to really get into specifics about those pain points.

Rob  08:23

Ok, what I’ve done in preparing for meetings before is do a little research on the general industry. Now sometimes it’s hard to do. Restaurants are easy to do a little research, you can find that stuff out if you are… if you’ve gone to college typically have access to the library from that university or college. And so I have the ability now to go into the university and do some research on the industry and say, Okay, here is what this industry is lacking, where their challenges are, where their problems are. So for example, you know, if you did a SWOT analysis and an industry, you might be able to look at what are their weaknesses, what are some opportunities there? What are the threats that are causing them to stay awake at night? So if you read through that, and there are reports out there that you can just literally download, or go research and find where they bullet point all those items. And so you know, hey, these are the things that they should have strengths, these are the things that should be weaknesses, these are the things that are opportunities for them. And these are the possible threats that they have in their business. If you walk in kind of generally knowing those things. Now you can use that information so that when, when a question comes up from him or her, you can dig a little deeper into knowing this should be a strength and the way they’re asking me that question that doesn’t sound like it’s a strength for them. And then you can ask them questions like, you probably don’t have an issue with that, or it’s probably not causing you a very big problem or a big issue with you. But what it is doing is giving you a little bit of angst. So if that’s the case, you want to talk a little bit about that now and get them to bring out more information about it start to your goal is to get them to talk more about whatever that is, particularly in their weaknesses and then their opportunities because that’s where the pain is right? If it’s the strength that should Your strength and it’s not in, it’s actually in their weakness area, then that’s one of those things where you need to try to address that and start to ask those questions in such a way that they can present the information to you. So you can show that you can help them. One of the things that I think stopping before we go any further is, is understanding that the questions that you ask should be phrased in such a way that you’re assuming that they’re better than what you think they are. In other words, I might ask the question, hey, if your strength is that you have the ability to serve people very, very efficiently and quickly, then that’s my assumption based on the industry analysis that we’ve done. Okay, if I know that walking in, and in my experience, when I go visit ahead of time, and I do a little testing on my own, without them knowing that I’m doing it, I find that it’s not as big of a strength as it should be. I might ask the question, this is one of the strengths of quick service is the speed, you guys probably don’t have any issue with speed, do you? And they may say, No, we don’t. Okay, so they don’t even know that they have an issue with speed if you found that they do. But if they say, you know what, that is an issue that we’d like to work on, because we’re fast, but we’re not fast enough based on what we want to be. Okay, now you have something you can talk about. But by asking the question in such a way, that just assumes that everything’s okay. You would think that that would be a miss in learning what their pains are. But the reality is, they actually will correct you. And it’s kind of a weird situation, where they’re going to feel like no, I need to tell you the real thing, if we’re going to do this, right, I need to be honest with you. And you’ll get a good feel whether or not they’re being honest or not, especially if you’ve done some testing for you. If you went into the restaurant, you find out their speeds, not where it should be or their qualities that whatever that might be all those questions that fit around that you should be crafting those questions ahead of time. So start to think about what the industry is crafting questions that could fit into giving you the answers as to how they’re doing. So doing that research ahead of time. That’s one of those critical things. And I think in a previous episode, we talked about using things like LinkedIn, if it’s not a restaurant, maybe some you know, it’s other professional services, or some of the things we have to learn more information about what they do and their strengths, and so forth. as an individual. You might use LinkedIn, you might use other sources of information that you can learn more about them. Another one that I find is really good for preparing is who do they know that I can talk to and learn a little bit about them a little bit further. So if I know Person A who knows Person B, I might call the person and say, Hey, you know, tell me a little bit about that. I’m supposed to have a meeting tomorrow. What are they like? Why do you think I’m doing that? Like, why do I ask that question? When I call Person A about Person B? Why would I ask what do they like? What am I looking for?

Lane  12:31

I would think you’re trying to start to get a feel for what their personality type is.

Rob  12:36

That’s exactly right. And if I find out that they are very outgoing, or a lot of fun, they’re, you know, that kind of question that I know that and I, but I might ask the person, hey, what are they like? And they’ll give me a general overview. Okay, that’s interesting. Now, I might dig in and say, How much do you know about the way that they approach their business or they do, they like to look at it from like high level, we’d like to get into the details, give me a little idea what that looks like. And you might find out, you know, what they’re kind of hands-off sometimes, and hands-on sometimes, really hands-on, now you know what their passion is. So if they’re hands-on, and they’re only hands-on dealing with customers, they’re walking around talking to all the customers, that’s one type of strength, if their strength is that they’re always dealing with the kitchen, they’re always in the kitchen, they’re never out talking to the customers. So that’s a different type of strength, right? And you know that the person that talking to customers, probably an “I”, the person in the back and the off in the kitchen is probably more of a D or more of a C or more, maybe even an S, but they’re more or less about the customers. They’re less about the outgoing parts. They’re listening about the interactions, and they are about getting things done. Right. So start asking questions that are more targeted that way. So that’s another way to prepare. Do you know what Tim is looking for from you?

Lane  13:47

Yeah, we’ve talked briefly about what some of the things we can do. Just very high level, you know, I know, they’re, they’re going through an expansion, they have a lot more rent to pay, so they need to need to drive sales. So ultimately, he’s looking to drive sales and you know, with significant increases.

Rob  14:05

Okay, so there is some good information, right? If you know, he’s expanding what’s happening. He’s bleeding cash. Yep. Yeah, right. Now, he may have saved, he’s got a loan, whatever that might be. Doesn’t matter. It’s irrelevant. Cash is going out the door. So there’s one issue, there’s a question that I would certainly be asking some point when it’s appropriate. Tim, I know you’re expanding. I know, you want to bring in sales, you know, there’s an investment to do what we’re doing. How are you going to balance all that? Asking it delicately? And honestly, like you feel genuinely concerned about that is going to allow him to talk about Yeah, it’s not an issue because or, yeah, that’s one of my concerns. I can kind of get a feel for what this is going to take. Because if it’s going to take $10,000 a month, I don’t have that. But if it’s going to take $1,000 a month, I might be able to do whatever those numbers are, I don’t know right for him. But by asking those questions, you’ll start to see and hear where his mind is at and how He’s approaching it. Yeah, that totally makes sense. What else is he looking for? What do you think in terms of the services? Did he get into anything? Did he mention any piece of your service? He’s like, that’s something I’d like to talk about. Did he do that? Or no?

Lane  15:12

Yeah, we’ve talked about SMS marketing, and some social media, things like that. Those are, I think those are the real focus points that he’s interested in.

Rob  15:22

So if he said already, hey, I’m looking for SMS, I’m looking for other specific marketing components. How will you go from the small talk, let’s say, call it small talk into the pain conversation? How will you transition into that?

Lane  15:36

So my plan was really, you know, talking about what they’ve been doing, and how, in what the, what the result of that has been, and then kind of transition into how maybe we can do things a little bit differently to get them more customers coming in the door and a better response rate to their offers.

Rob  15:56

So I would say that that’s typically what most people would do is walk in and say, Okay, here’s what we do. And let’s transition into what we can do for you. What kind of a thing or what do you need? Well, how do we transition? I think the first thing I would almost recommend transitioning from the initial conversation into getting into the pain conversation might start out with something like, you might just ask him a question, which is, you know, I know when we talked about getting together in meeting that we were gonna go through a bunch of questions. And I guess what I wanted to make sure of was that I understood kind of what you were hoping to get out of this one more time. So you know, you mentioned SMS, you mentioned some of these other marketing ideas, things that you wanted to talk through where you want to start and see what he says, What if he says, I want to redo my website, which has nothing to do with maybe some of the other stuff? He talked about? What if he says, so it would be interesting to see where he starts. And if he starts with, yeah, let’s talk about the texting piece. Because I think that’d be an interesting area to get started with. Okay, so if you’re going to get started with texting, that’s the first answer he gives you. Now, what you might do is, you might say, all right, what else do you know? text it write it down. So you know, you’re gonna go back, go back to. But what’s his second thing? And then what’s the third thing? And what’s, and it keeps saying, what else? Until he stopped saying anything else? Like, no, that’s it. That’s all I wanted. Okay, now, you know, the top 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…10, whatever they are, things that he wants to call through now. Right? You have to now start to say, all right, what do you want to talk about first? And if he goes, Well, let’s start with the texting thing. Because I think that was the most intriguing piece. Okay, why did you pick the texting thing, what that does is helps you understand the priority to it, and it helps him know that you’re trying to learn more about his business and how it might fit in. So when he tells you why he wants to start, they say, Okay, how do you see that helping you? Like, how are you use it? How do you see that being a benefit to your business? So you’re going to start asking all these questions, that’s gonna make him think and think very hard about because he may think, well, I just sent out a text and people show up. And that’s not necessarily how it works. Right? Right. So if you learn a little bit about how he’s going to use it, it may help you position some of the other stuff that you’re going to talk about and how you’re going to help him so that he now understands how you’re going to fit in a little bit better, and what you can do for him. Alright, after all of that, you do the same thing over with the next bullet point and the next bullet point, the next thing that you want to talk about, and then I think in your process, and all of those questions at the end of each bullet point, I think there needs to be a question. And there’s somewhere along the lines that say, so if we put the texting program into place, I don’t know that we will. And I don’t even know if it makes sense yet for what you’re talking about. But maybe it does. If we do that, what’s going to happen? How do you think that’s going to impact the business, make him talk out loud, some of that either numbers or what his expectations are. Because if he says, I expect a million people to show up at my doorstep to go to my restaurant, tomorrow, or the same day that I sent out a text message, you know, right then and there, you need to correct that. Yet, if he says, You know, I don’t expect much, I might expect a 10% increase in XYZ, whatever that is…number of customers, Bill size, you know, different things. And I think the other thing is, is you got to talk about you know, in the text message program, there’s a bunch of different options, you can have a reduction in your pricing. Well, what happens if all of a sudden, you’re giving a sale on a particular item, or a percent off or whatever, and your sales actually go down a little bit, but they’re coming more frequently. Right? So your total bill size goes down, but they’re coming more frequently, Is that helpful? Because if that’s helpful, that’s a different story. Because overall, and if they’re only coming once a month, and all of a sudden are coming four times a month, because of your text, you make less than each one, you’ve, you’ve made more money over the course of a year, right? So make him or her whatever, go through those conversations, and explain to you how those affect the numbers. So if he says a 10%, just like we did one of the other episodes where, you know, talk and make them talk through the numbers a 10% increase? Well, I don’t even know if that’s very much is that a very good increase or not a very, very, not a very good increase? I don’t I don’t know what that means. Just curious. You know, if that impact, what would that do to your business? What would you be able to do and for him, Anyway, tip one will offset some of my renovations that I’m doing, I can recover some of those funds a little faster, okay, or I can drive people here while we’re still doing the renovations, or there’s a whole bunch of different answers he can come up with your job is to find out how it’s going to impact his business by either doing or not doing what you’re doing. So maybe one of the other questions could be, hey, okay, let’s pretend we don’t do the text messaging, because, in the whole grand scheme of things, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for one reason or another, how would that affect it? And make him walk through some of those questions, but you get the point, right? It’s getting him to explain some of the numbers as you go through all those different things. Do you know when he needs to be completed or get started with you? Do you know when he wants to be done? You know, what he’s, what’s his timeline?

Lane  20:42

Well, the expansion is probably two to three months away from being completed. So definitely, it’s we need to be ready before that. But you know, depending on on what you’re trying to accomplish, you pray sooner than later, you need to start at least harvesting numbers and things like that. So

Rob  20:57

Yeah. So is that your assumption? That’s what he wants to get it started or done? Or is that something he’s told you

Lane  21:03

My assumption is based on a little bit of information that I’ve gotten from him? or him? Yeah.

Rob  21:10

Okay. So So based on that, you kind of know, a general timeline, you should clarify that when you want to start this whole process. And then I think the other thing is, is why. So it’s not so much though, why are you doing this? Although I think that is a question you need to ask is, you know, why are you looking at this? Now, I would ask him, why are you adding this now? Why are you looking at why are you even entertaining this now? What are you hoping to accomplish in this amount of time? And then doing it right now? Why? Why are you doing it now? And when he says, Hey, I want to get this done, or I want to do this in two months. And he says, I want to start next month to start to, you know, harvest the numbers? or do whatever you’re doing for the marketing piece. One of the questions could be two for you, and it would give you some clarity is why do you want to start next month? Why? Why? what’s significant about that, or if he says, You know, I want to start, but I don’t want to start until two months from now, there’s a reason he’s asking for that. So why two months? What happens then? And depending on his answer, you might find out he just pushing you off, or, and he’s never gonna buy or he’s, he’s pushing you up, because I need to finish this piece. That’s where the cash flow is gonna change. And that’s where the money is gonna come from, or whatever that is. Now, that’s the money that’s gonna come in from the loan, or there’s a whole bunch of different answers, he can give you that. But by understanding the why, between his timing and why he’s doing it, it’s going to help clarify some of that for you, but also for him. Right. The other question I would ask that I have for you is, how is he going to measure the success of your program? How does he know if this is a good thing or a bad thing?

Lane  22:34

And that I actually have a couple of questions ready for that as to you know, what, kind of what are his expectations out of this? You know, do you want a 10% increase in business? Are you looking for a 20% increase in business? At what point in time? Do you expect it to realize that that increase in business?

Rob  22:50

And are you expecting that to be able to drive that kind of result? So if he says 20% 25%, or 10%, or 5%, whatever that number is, if it’s something that you can’t support by saying, okay, we’re gonna be able to do that. I think the question really comes back to how is he going to measure the success? So when I’ve asked that question of people, and I say, how are you going to? How are you going to be able to look back and say, this was the best thing we ever did? How will you know if this is a good idea or not? To do what we’re doing, we’re getting ready to start? How well how are you going to measure that? If I could tell you that half the people say, I don’t have any clue, I don’t know, they have no idea how they’re gonna measure it, it’s probably half and the other half say, Oh, I know exactly how we’re gonna do it, we’re gonna do this, this, this, this, or we’re gonna measure this, we’re gonna measure that, and they know exactly how that’s gonna be. Alright, so that could fit into their personality. But also, I’m going to know, these are the ways that they’re going to measure. And then my next question is, if they’re going to measure really, really well, and it’s really accurate, I might ask the question, alright, what happens if it misses the mark? Because I want to know, what happens? Are you gonna just fire me on the spot? Or are we gonna talk? Or is there another issue that’s happening that’s causing us to not be able to hit the mark, there’s a whole bunch of things that can happen to make it so that you can’t hit the mark? Right? So if you’re not providing the right sale, or the right message, in your in, your message is going out? Are they going to reply? No, really show up? No. But if you have the right thing, or they have too much of the good thing, it’s also a bad thing. So understanding how he’s going to measure the success and know how it’s going to help them is going to make a big difference in whether or not he is going to look back at this and say this was a good idea. And the other reason you do that is so that when it gets to that end, and you get to what you can say is a success. He can also refer you to other people and show that to other people. Right. So there’s a long-term goal for that as well.

Lane  24:31

Right. Right.

Rob  24:32

And do you have any idea what he’s expecting in terms of investment?

Lane  24:34

No, I’m not really sure.

Rob  24:36

So walking in he doesn’t really have any idea right now.

Lane  24:38

I know from previous conversations, he has money set aside in his budget this year for marketing, but I don’t know what that number is.

Rob  24:47

Okay, so and if he has no idea, how will you have that conversation? You go through all the pain stuff, at some point numbers are gonna come up right and how much is this gonna cost? He’s gonna ask, alright, what’s this all gonna cost and maybe you can put it the about maybe you can’t, but at some point, you’re going to come back to that numbered part. So how will you if you’re done with collecting all the pains, and so my rule typically is, if I can find two to four pains that are solid, that I can see the numbers that match to say this is worth doing, and there’s a need for them? If I can get two to four pains that are that good. I know I can talk about the investment side, if I don’t have a single pain that shows any sort of measurement of numbers, that that is worth their investment, I never get to the budget side, I give them a range or I talk about, I think we’re not a good fit. So that by the range, I mean, it’s going to be a high range where they’re no one’s going to not be affordable for them, or which is more typical, I would say, is I would say, based on what we just talked about, and in-kind of those numbers, I don’t think it’s gonna be worthwhile for us to even move forward any further, I just, I don’t know that the investment side is gonna make any difference, which also usually ends up with the result of somebody asking me, well, how much is it going to end up being? Which is okay to ask, but if it’s really out of their ballpark, you got to be honest, you got to be frank, right? He’s gonna say, listen, yeah, it’s it. That’s irrelevant. I don’t want to take money from somebody that I know, that’s not gonna make sense. It just doesn’t make sense for you, we’re not going to go down that road. But if you get to that point where at all the numbers seem to line up, and you can say, Okay, this looks good. How are you? How will you position it so that they can say this actually, is something that I can work with? Is there a way that you can word that?

Lane  26:27

Yeah, kind of what I had, what’s been in my mind is trying to find out what that growth looks like, what kind of growth they’re looking for, and what that increase in growth would mean for their bottom line. So that I have that picture. And, you know, if they’re expecting a 10% increase in business, and that means $20,000 a month, then that makes it a lot easier for me to say, well, it’s gonna cost $1,000 a month to hit that $20,000 a month.

Rob  26:57

Yeah. What if they don’t get into those numbers very deep? In other words, you don’t know that for sure you have a… you have an idea? Do you think you have an idea that it’s going to be those numbers, but it’s not quite? How are you going to find out?

Lane  27:10

I don’t know.

Rob  27:11

So when that comes up, it does happen. And sometimes people aren’t willing to share those numbers. And maybe it’s a matter of talking in terms instead of asking for actual numbers. Sometimes it’s a matter of asking them to speak in round terms, like, just give me generally an idea, like rounded to the nearest $10…, or the $20,000 mark. So is that, are we looking at 20,000? 5,000? $100,000? I don’t know what the size of your business is, that’s even realistic to even know. And sometimes they can tell you that if they don’t know those numbers, that’s a different thing. Like they don’t do the numbers at all, then then you may not be in front of the right person. And I think that comes to the next section, which is, okay, who’s going to help be a part of this conversation? So we can decide whether or not this is going to be a good fit or not? Right? But if they know their numbers, which they should if they’re a restaurant business, he will say, well, it’s, you know, 10% can be right around this number plus or minus, okay, and he may underestimate it more than likely, because he’s not gonna want to hear the actual numbers, right? Yeah. So now, you know, if he’s underestimating, it’s probably more, all right, we’re gonna be okay. So now, when you have that conversation, you get into those, those situations, when you start talking about budget, typically, what I try to do is try to give them a little bit of a range. And so depending on their packaging, your packaging, and how you put stuff together, you could give them a range of, well, it could be this much to this much. And the low end could be $2,000, to $5,000, it could be $10,000, to $15,000, whatever those number ranges are, but give them two or three ranges. And based on that, when I go through those two or three ranges, I might ask, I don’t know if any one of those fit with what you were thinking. An and when they, when they hear that, they usually will pick the middle one, which is because it’s almost always the better one. But it also can be the lower one. And every once in a while I get somebody that says the high one. And that’s all fine. It doesn’t matter to me, it’s I get to know what they want, and what their expectations are. And if they’re a high one, I wasn’t expecting that. It’s usually because I underestimated what they really could afford, based on the conversation we were just having, which is okay, I’d rather underestimate than over…  but I want to make sure that that I understand what those numbers are in terms of putting that together. So given that what I would also then start to do is go to the next part, which is starting to ask questions about how are you going to make a decision of whether or not we’re going to work together? And it’s a general question, and they can answer however they want. But when they answer that question, it’ll be an indication of what their thought processes, but you also need to look for who’s involved. Are there other people that need to be involved in this decision? I don’t know. Does Tim have any other partners in the business? Are there managers that are involved that would need to be involved with it? Is there anybody else that could be involved? You know,

Lane  29:45

Yeah, I think there may be a couple of others, but I’m not 100%.

Rob  29:49

So in that conversation, that’s where you want to find that out. You want to know, is this person really the only person or is there somebody else and you might even say, when I deal with restaurants in the past When I’ve dealt with restaurants in the past, typically I find it’s not just one owner, or one person making all these decisions together, it’s usually a group thing. There’s a couple of them, a couple of them own it. There’s usually a manager that’s involved or even somebody in the finance or the numbers area. Is there anybody else that we should probably bring in at this point, to have this conversation finalized? Because I want to make sure that I can answer their questions as well. Nine times out of 10, they’ll say, Oh, yeah, there’s so and so I need to bring in because you’ll get that sense beforehand. And when you know that, you start to bring those other folks in, if they say, No, I, there’s nobody else, I’m the only one that’s gonna make the decision, then you have to make a decision whether or not you think that’s their truth or not. And sometimes it’s just a matter of asking some clarifying questions. So if you know if it comes in within the range that we just talked about, you’re saying there’s, you don’t have to bounce it off. Anybody else? And you know, we’re all good to go kind of a thing that’s said accurately is that because usually, that’s not what I find in this situation, usually there brings release one other person in sometimes they’ll change their answer, like, well, I need to talk to so and so. Okay, that’s one of those questions that can go a little bit either way, and you’re gonna have to kind of keep pushing until you get the real feel of what the answer is. And that it’s the real thing. You’re gonna keep asking that question in different ways. And you could also go back to, oh, you know, I just thought of something a pain point question, and then come back to that decision question. Because it, it throws their brain off a little bit from where they were, it gets more into the emotional side of the pain side than it does the decision side, which is more of the right logic side, right. So you get some out of that, and back into their emotional senses, which then they go, you know what, I can’t let them down, I gotta make sure they bring in too. So that’s, those are the basic steps and processes that I would use for that meeting. And then I think what I want to do is go through a couple of little more details in just a minute.

V/O  31:51

Do you have a question about sales? Call or text your question at (608) 708-SLOW, that’s (608) 708-7569. Or you can email them to Now, back to the show.

Lane  32:12

Probably at the beginning of the episode, you talked about something about the reporter? What’s up with that?

Rob  32:18

Yep. So I just kind of went through all those questions a long, long way, all the way through this whole thing. But the idea is the same. And it works with any kind of sale. And essentially, what you’re doing is asking the who, what, when, where, and why. And how questions. As you go through your process, you need to have all those questions answered. And even some of them are layered within so the why question can be what you’re looking for? Why are you looking for that? So when in the beginning, if Tim saying, well, I want to talk about the messaging service, you might as well why don’t why you want to get into that and what are you expecting me to get out of that? So but it also is why the timing? And you know, why is so and so doing this piece now. And just so ask all those questions, so that you really have a good feel for it. And I feel like, the reason why you ask all these reporter-style questions is one, you wanna make sure you have all the information. But more importantly, I feel like, and the other side of the table is your potential customer, your potential client, who has a lot of information, who wants to get what you have from a service standpoint, but they also need to trust you. And they want to know that you understand their business really well. They want to know that you have a good understanding and a good grasp of what their, what their business does, what their problems are, and what you’re trying to fix or solve. And by asking all those questions, they’re gonna have this feeling of Wow, I can’t think of another question that you should ask me. And sometimes at the end, I might even ask, what’s one of the questions should I be asking you at this point? Because they’ll go, Well, you asked me about this. But if you get all those questions out, and they give you all the answers, you have avenues to dive into deeper to get more pain. And you can attach those things to all the elements that you’re going to be talking about in your proposal, your whatever that is so that they can see all that fit together. And you’ll have the best-looking proposal or estimate of everybody, you’ll have the one that says you talked about this as an issue. And you know, one of the reasons this is an issue is because it’s causing you X number of dollars of lost business sales, or extra costs, or whatever those are. And by including that into the estimate, all of a sudden, now you’re attaching that number or all those numbers with the offset of what you’re investing in our service. Now all of a sudden, you’ve got a good reason to make a purchase. And then it’s hard for them to turn down at that point, right. So that’s kind of the idea behind the reporter. And if you don’t have a list of questions that you can go through, or have them ready to go. Before you sit down, you’ll draw blanks. I would recommend writing down as many questions as you can, that are related to the who, what, where, when, and why and how, as much as you possibly can that relate to who you’re going to speak to next. And then start practicing Those questions just thinking through those questions. Because the more prepared you are that way, the better off you are,

Lane  35:05

How invasive into their business? Do you really want to start getting some of these questions? I mean, for a restaurant, you know, is it fair to retask? Do you know, you know, how many, on average your weekly guests you serve monthly guess what your average ticket value is? Because to me, that’s alright. You know, do you do expect your average ticket value to go up by how much percent? If we do this?

Rob  35:26

Yeah. So I, that’s a very good question. And yes, you should be asking anything that’s related to what you’re selling. So if that directly relates, and you need to know the answers, then that’s something you should be able to ask, they won’t feel uncomfortable, if they feel like you can relate to them, meaning the disc profile or their personality, right, number one, number two, you’re genuine in your question asking, they feel like you’re you have their best interest in mind and what you’re, you’re trying to approach it from that angle, and that they understand that you’re going to have to ask these tough questions. And if you feel like you’re going to ask questions that are a little tougher, that they may push back on, or they may not want you to ask maybe in the very, very, very, very beginning, you’re going to say to them, part of my questions are going to be a little bit uncomfortable. And they’re going to sound uncomfortable to you at first, but it’s gonna help me later on if I understand what you’re doing, and where you are and what you’re doing, I won’t be able to help you if I don’t understand those things, or I’ll miss something. So I’m going to ask you these. And there’s a reason I’m doing that. If it’s uncomfortable, tell me, we can broaden it out a little bit, we can go back and step back and say, okay, it’s not this number exactly. But it’s in this range of numbers if that’s the number of things that we’re talking about, or whatever else it is, we’ll talk a little bit and generics. But we’ll also talk a little bit in specifics. You speak to me as comfortably as you can, so that I then get as much information to understand what I can do to help them or not. So there’s nothing wrong with asking those difficult questions. In fact, the more I think the more difficult the question they ask that you’re asking, the better they like you, the more that they feel like you you get it, you’re part of their business, you want to be a part of their business, you want to help them? Yeah, yeah, there’s value in that. But that’s a good question. If you can show that you have their interests in mind, you understand what their pains are, you understand what their budget is, you know, who’s involved in making those decisions that you’ve been able to get in front of, you’re not just you know, giving it to him to give to them, you want them to be in front of you, you want them to know who you are, if they won’t do that, it’s gonna be a little more difficult. That kind of qualifies them, I think that they’re a qualified buyer, you’ve got all those pieces down, you now can say to them, when you get done with all of that, you can now say, Alright, we’ve gone through all of these questions that I have. And they’re gonna ask you some questions. And when they ask you those questions anywhere along the way, if they ask you questions, the first question that you should ask is, well, that’s an interesting question. Help me out, what do you I don’t understand what you mean? or What am I supposed to answer here? Or I’m not sure I clearly understand your question. He rephrases that. Make them explain it so that it’s very apparent as to what they’re asking you laying. If I’m asking you, you know, I want to do the text messaging? How Often Can I do that? You might want to say, what you can do as many times as you want. Exactly. You might say, you can do a once a week, whatever that is, whatever your budget, whatever the whole thing is, right? But by asking him asking and you answering, you didn’t learn anything. But if yes, how often Can I do it? And you say, I understand what do you mean? How often? Well, can I do it every day? Oh, you want to do this every day? It’s interesting. Why? Why would you want to do it every day? Have them explain that? Because every day would be annoying. He meant he’s probably not going to say that. Right. But if he did you want to understand why he’s asking that question. So you’re answering his question so that it makes sense to him and understands Well, it fits into what his question is if you try to answer the question, and you say, Yeah, he did every day you want. Okay, great. Well, that gives you no information either. So what’s the point? Right, right. Yeah. So go through all that. But all those questions, you go through all that, and he gets his questions out of the way. And you continue to ask back, why you’re asking that when you get to the end. The next question you should be asking is, alright, Tim, we’ve gone through all my questions. We’ve gone through all of your questions unless you have any more where you want to do now. And what do you think he’s gonna say? Either?

Lane  39:13

What do you mean, I? Well, let’s, let’s, let’s do this or otherwise, you know, you’re, you’re coming back with a, well, I’ve got to go talk to somebody else. And yeah, so what I guess, yeah, I guess at that point, you at least have the, you know, how to how to approach it. Whether Alright, I’ll get your proposal and, and we’ll get you get signed up or, okay, great. You know, when do you think you’re gonna talk to them? Well, you know, let’s set something up. Do I need to be part of that conversation? Do you want me to be part of that conversation? At least? You set the tone for what’s coming next?

Rob  39:44

Yes. And I think by asking that question, he’s got really almost two options at that point. Because in the beginning, if you’ve said to him, look at the end of this meeting, we’re gonna decide we’re not gonna we’re gonna part ways no harm, no foul. I’ll still come to eat here. It’s okay. But you know, No harm, no foul. And if you ever change your mind, let me know no big deal. Or, hey, we should get into the nitty-gritty here, let’s get something in the paper on paper so we can decide whether this is what we want to do or not. And, you know, there’s some, there are some things in that statement right there that you could say, what does that mean? Like? What do you mean, put it on paper? And then we can decide what does that means and understand. But all of that put together, you’re going to have to decide yes or no at that point to move on to the next step. And if he says to you, which is typically what I end up getting to is, in most people, when you get too far into it, if you haven’t shut it down, they’re kind of ready to go at the end of that conversation to at least take the next step. So their answer, his answer could be alright, well, what is the next step? What do we need to do now? Is it Well, typically, the next step would be that we need to put some more detail into this whole project. And just clarify a couple of little things. Here’s what I understood. Do you want X service? Why service Y service? Those three things? Correct? Yes. And your goal was to start it in September or August or February, whatever that month is that’s coming up. And you’re looking for this type. And just recapping what he’s looking to do and an inner splice in there. Some of the pain things if you can, based on all that, if we wrote up the estimate, and the total was within the range that I just described to you earlier, which was, let’s say, $5,000 to $8,000, whatever the numbers are, what’s going to happen, Tim, what will happen next after that, and if he explains to you Well, all that fits, and all that fits within those numbers, I think it’s a no brainer, we got to get started. Or he’s gonna say, Well, I gotta bring it to so and so to look at it. Uh huh. That’s when it’ll come up. Even though you asked a couple of clarifying questions. You didn’t ask enough, or you didn’t phrase it the right way. So he’s gonna come up with that answer there. That’s where it’ll happen. And At which point, you can say, Well, I’d be happy to write something up. But let’s do this instead. For right now. Let’s bring Joe whoever it is, Mary, it doesn’t matter. Bring them in. And let’s, let’s have a conversation, just to make sure that we’re not missing anything. Because here’s what happens. I’ve done this before, where we go through all this, we think we have all the answers. And then Joe says, You know, I want to add a monkey. And you’re like, I don’t know what monkey is, what does that mean? Right. And so all of a sudden, now you’re going to readjust everything. And all those numbers that we just talked about went out the window, and that’s not good. So I don’t want to do that to you. And it’s just gonna slow you down, we can’t start by the date that you want. So let’s, let’s, let’s see if we can do that you I’m happy to spend a few more minutes. If you want to bring Joe in. Now, we can schedule another time to come back tomorrow, the next day, whatever that might be happy to do it. But it’s worth the investment in time. If you’ve done the report, and you’ve done all the stuff that you’ve done, they’ll do it, they’ll bring them in. They may sometimes say no way in the world, you’re going to talk to that person, you have to make a decision, do I continue doing that continue? Because there’s a good chance you’re not going to get to that point, right? But if they bring them in, or if they don’t say that he’s likely going to say, All right, let’s get this in writing and put this in on paper and see what we need to do. And, and let’s, let’s do that. And then again, you have to ask back. Alright, we’re putting on a rock pond paper. When we do that, I’m going to come back, we’re going to go through it, make sure it’s clear. And once we’re to that point, but I have this written out. What I expect you to do at that point is to tell me after we’ve gone through the document, No, thank you. But I do appreciate it. And I’ll take my paperwork and we’re leaving, and I won’t bother you again. Or Yeah, let’s get started. That’s really the two options that are left, right. I mean, that’s it. And Yep, yep. He’s gonna understand this is serious. And when they’re serious, yep, no problem. And when they’re not so serious about well, what if I want to think about it? Well, all right, you know, you can think about it all you want, but I can leave for a few minutes come right back are, you want to go to the back and think for a minute, that’s fine. But I kind of want to before I leave, I want to kind of know where we’re at. So I don’t want to I don’t want to take any more of your time than I need to. And they’re happy to do that. So that’s kind of how that works. Any other questions that you have? I don’t think so. Not right now. Okay. If you boil it down a couple of different things, prepare ahead of time, make sure you have all your questions. Know why that person that you’re meeting with is wanting to meet with you. Make sure your expectations and their expectations are pretty clear. And go through all those reporter questions. Get all the things you can out of it so that your meeting is as valuable to them as it is to you. And Lane, in the beginning, you said was about a 20 to 30-minute meeting. If you can go through all that in 20 to 30 minutes. I would be shocked that well. Okay. Yeah. It’s okay. Cuz some people can…

Lane  44:22

It’ll probably run an hour. But yeah.

Rob  44:25

So I would rather tell them, Listen, it’s gonna be an hour. And then if you’re done 45 minutes, you’re done early, that’s fine. But in an hour, you need to be done. Get up and leave. That’s when you leave. You say, okay, we’ve hit an hour. It’s probably time that we wrap this up. So I know we’ve got more to go through the question. I’ve still more questions. What do you want to do? I can, we can reschedule another meeting or I can continue on with you. It doesn’t matter. And that’s another way to gauge your interest. Okay, let’s continue on because I’m interested. Or Yeah, go ahead and reschedule and they never do. So, but those are the things make sure that you’re ready with all those points. Proper. Preparing is really important. setting expectations and going To those questions, so, give us your questions because we’d love to answer. Til next time Lane, we’ll see ya.

Lane  45:06

See ya, Rob.

V/O  45:07

Thank you for listening to the slow pitch. Do you have a question about sales? call or text your question at (608) 708-SLOW, that’s (608) 708-7569 or you can email them to, Slow Down & Close More!

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