Friday, 7 July
Today's Topic
Ending a Meeting

Skill

Ending meetings is not complicated, but it does require thought. You have plenty to manage on your customer sales calls, but you can easily master an end-of-meeting protocol that benefits all.

"Ok, then…great meeting…I’ll ping ya, and we’ll lunch." Have you heard yourself mutter those words at the end of a customer meeting? (It’s okay, that’s why you’re here.)

A better way to end a meeting might include this: with three minutes remaining, summarize the meeting’s achievements, status, and next steps. But that should only take one minute, right? Two, max.

How should you spend the final two minutes? Do you summarize your value prop so they’re reminded why they need you? Or should you just get outa there early and deposit some time back in their account? (Buyers looooove that.)

Hand in the air if you think closing a customer meeting is more important than opening the meeting! You’re too keen to fall for that trick question…they’re both important.

There are many things to manage in customer sales meetings, and the clock is probably the most important. First, you’ll probably agree on how important it is to end your pitch meetings early. More importantly, you’ll want to avoid being the "…and one more thing…" seller who keeps talking because what you have to say is the thing that’s gonna convince them.

Developing your best approach to closing customer meetings means reviewing these key elements of those interactions:
1. Understand customer needs.
2. Clear up misperceptions, and change perceptions (about your offering and their business needs too).
3. Present your value (in ways that map to the customer’s needs).
4. Quaify the opportunity.
5. Influence decisions.
6. Build trust. (All roads lead here, eh?)

Given the above, it’s easy to see it takes more than a bit of thought to close meetings in ways that work for you and your buyers. No problem…you’ll think it through easily.

Do

The last few minutes of your customer meetings can potentially turn you into a sales funnel god. Try some of these best practices, and you may see your qualifying prowess grow exponentially.

Try this in your customer pitch meetings today: stop everything with five minutes to spare and ask a few questions that help summarize your time together. Here are a few suggestions:

1. "Our meeting goals today were to review X, Y, and Z – how’d we do?" And then be completely still…be quiet. Their answer will tell you a ton about what they’re thinking and how the meeting went.
2. Next, try this killer question, "What is the most appealing part of our offering regarding what you are looking for?" Same as previous…don’t move a muscle, let them answer.

In addition to those two questions, there’s more you can do that can help you end your meetings properly

There’s nothing worse than breezing through a good meeting with a customer where everyone nods their heads, and then the end becomes rushed and disjointed.

Consider any of these recommendations that may help you tie things together at the end of your meetings:
1. Summarize the progress of the meeting;
2. Repeat your value prop;
3. Qualify the buyer;
4. Get alignment on who needs to do what next, and…wait for it…
5. Ask for referrals. Getting meetings with prospects and customers is hard, so use the time in front of them – through video or in-person – to get the next meeting.

To support the above, you may benefit by having a few questions at the ready to qualify the buyer. For example, after summarizing your value prop (#2), ask, "What part of our value prop interests you the most?" The follow-up is a killer, "Why? What is it about that value prop point that excites you?"

Next time you hear a friend close a meeting sloppily by asking the customer, "So what’s next?" you’ll be eager to help them see a better way.

Tomorrow - June 20

"Buyer, I object to your stupid objection."

Today - June 19

Didn't we JUST have a weekly sales meeting last week???

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June 18

Q2 account reviews that make your mgr smile.

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June 17

Whadya mean, you're not killing it right now?

Read More

"Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything." -John Kenneth Galbraith

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