How do we stay connected with our customers and maintain sales and project momentum in the current environment?
In the past month, much has changed as to how we conduct business. Buyers and sellers are both challenged with performing their roles exclusively via phone calls and audio/video conferences. We think we would all agree that this is a lot different.
At CPS, we’ve found that remote and face-to-face meetings can be very different, and we’ve identified some quick best practices that can make remote meetings more effective.
Best Practices for Remote and Face-to-Face Meetings
Schedule your appointments – don’t count on “catching” your customer with a phone call
Send the agenda and materials to the customer ahead of time
Clearly summarize mutual best next actions when you close the meeting
Follow up with an email thanking the customer and outlining the actions you agreed to
Time assigned to meetings is precious to the customer, so prepare, prepare, prepare
Differences for Remote Meetings
Remote appointments may be easier to get than face-to-face meetings
You don’t get to observe and respond to the customer’s body language
Follow up questions and listening skills become even more critical
Be sure to match the technology that you use with the client’s preference (audio or video, and your system or theirs?)
Keeping both parties engaged is challenging (limit the time and make it productive)
Most importantly plan for your remote meeting – this 5 to 10 minute investment of time will result in more productive meetings for you and your team.
CPS’ Six-Step Meeting Plan
For our clients, the CPS Call Plan is a great tool that will help your team follow all these important steps. If you aren’t a CPS client and are interested in learning more about our Call Plan, please contact us to learn more.
Primary Objectives. What objectives, if met, would make this meeting an extraordinary use of your time and your team’s time? Every objective should have demonstrable value to the client.
Secondary (back-up) Objectives. If you are on a roll, or if you run into obstacles, what else might you accomplish?
Value Deliverables (Gifts). Every time you have an important customer meeting, bring value deliverables (gifts). These are things that are of high value to the person receiving them and reflect thoughtfulness on your part. Some examples are business information, problem-solving, perspectives, and ideas that demonstrate insight.
Good Questions. Develop four or five good questions to get the conversation headed towards your primary objectives. These questions should be designed to set up the best questions, which are probing questions to learn more about the customer or project, and to advance the sales process.
Openings. Especially if there will be more than one team member attending, establish who will open the meeting and how, including confirming how much time the customer has available. Plan on quickly introducing the agenda or objectives for the meeting.
Closing. Never end a meeting without agreeing to best next actions for both parties, also perhaps the agenda and time for the next meeting.