I am constantly amazed how many consultants still go into client meetings and ‘wing it’. Even when they are seeing senior executives, or looking to win major contracts.
In order to excel as consultants we must plan, practice, and perform in our sales meetings.
To plan a client meeting, start by thinking how you’ll SOAR. (See how I did that, four letter acronym, classic!)
S= Safety: How will I make the client comfortable and open to a challenging dialogue?
O= Outcome: What do I want to get from this meeting? What will the client want to get from this meeting?
A= Agenda: How long do we have? How’s it best to structure the time together?
R= Role: What roles do I want to play at each stage of the meeting? Provocateur. Listener. Consultant. Architect. Seller. Etc.
This can be as simple as putting together some ‘scripts’ of what you’ll say at each stage of the meeting. By this I mean mentally practicing the questions, anchors, and phrases you’ll use – and thinking about the responses you might get to each from the client.
Considered in advance these bridges and tunnels allow you to quickly and easily lead clients though the conversational landscape of the meeting. In fact these are the key components that give elite consultants their verbal agility, spontaneity and ability to improvise. Winging it, without winging it.
Finally do it right. Having planned, and practiced in your mind you’ll need to execute the meeting well. That means getting yourself into a great emotional and mental state, so you perform at your best.
There are many different ways to do this. Personally I just take a few minutes to remember some of the really great meetings I’ve had. Meetings where I’ve been able to add unusual value and made project sales.
Before every sales meeting plan, prepare, perform. You’ll only get to do the meeting once. Do it right.