meeting with a client

Are Your Client Meetings Effective?

Guest Post by Kim Henderson

meeting with a client

Has this ever happened when meeting with a prospect/client in person or on video?

  • Your meeting questions are never fully answered, and you run out of time.
  • Your meeting has no real outcome or follow up plan.
  • Your meeting is cancelled by the prospect.
  • Your meeting is derailed by irrelevant information and immaterial conversations. 
  • Your meeting is less productive when multiple attendees are present. 

Maximize your meetings and achieve business objectives by using an Up-Front Agenda. Based on Sandler methodology, an Up-Front Agenda is a tool that salespeople use to agree with their prospect or client, before a meeting, what will take place during the meeting. It creates equal business stature between you and your prospect, and it confirms the topics that will be discussed in the conversation so both parties are prepared and engaged.

What are the Elements of an Up-Front Agenda?

  1. Objective/purpose of the meeting
  2. Time 
  3. Your objectives/expectations in the meeting
  4. The prospect’s objectives/expectations in the meeting
  5. Outcome 

Here is an example of an Up-Front Agenda, and how it could be approached in a live conversation.

Objective

It would be beneficial for us to have an introduction and explore the opportunity of working together, whether it’s now or in the future. 

Time 

It usually takes 40 minutes or so, depending on how many questions you may have.  Why don’t we schedule 1 hour to ensure we have enough time? 

Your Objectives/Expectations in the Meeting

While you’ve given me some great information already, I’d like to learn about your role, team, hiring process, technology, and projects. 

The Prospect’s Objectives/Expectations in the Meeting

I’m sure you’ll have some questions about my services, which I’ll answer for you. In addition, what are your objectives / topics for the meeting so I can be certain to cover them?  What would you like to get out of the meeting?

Outcome

At the end of our discussion, together we’ll decide on what the next steps should be. Does that work for you? 

An Up-Front Agenda ensures that you and your prospect both achieve collective objectives in the meeting because it was agreed upon beforehand. The prospect becomes a willing, engaged participant in the conversation because material important to them is being discussed and addressed. Further, these meetings will have clear outcomes and specific action items approved by both parties. We all know that not every prospect is a fit for our services and business model. A UFA also helps the prospect and you quickly decide if it makes sense to work together.

When do you use an Up-Front Agenda?

Use an Up-Front Agenda before you have a video, phone, or in person meeting. Also, send the agenda in email when you book the meeting. Create a UFA before making joint sales calls with another team member and after each client conversation to determine action items. Finally, use a UFA at the conclusion of a sale to discuss post-sales support, future business, or referrals. 

Can you remember a lackluster sales meeting that could have been more productive with an Up-Front Agenda? How can you apply this to make conversations more efficient and fruitful for both parties?


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Kim is the Managing Director of Cobalt Compass Solutions. Cobalt Compass provides consulting and training services for the Staffing and Professional Services Industry. Training programs encompass the full life cycle of sales in staffing and teach the skills and strategies to create lasting customer relationships. Our consulting services give leaders the methodology to create and operate effective business units while managing teams for performance and revenue.

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