Elevate Your Sales Game: The Importance of Pre and Post-Meeting Questions for Success
As a sales team, it's essential to ensure that your client meetings are productive and successful, despite the countless hours spent preparing, practicing, and anticipating potential obstacles. However, even with the most thorough preparation, meetings can still veer off course or fail to meet objectives. Therefore, it's crucial to incorporate pre- and post-meeting questions into your sales strategy to improve your chances of success, identify areas for improvement, and build stronger relationships with clients.
Let me share a story about a sales team that learned this lesson the hard way. Despite weeks of preparation, they discovered during a crucial meeting with a potential client that they had different expectations and objectives than they had anticipated. They struggled to pivot their approach mid-meeting, resulting in a less-than-ideal outcome. The team realized that incorporating pre-meeting questions could have helped them anticipate and clarify their client's objectives.
As a result, the team implemented a set of pre-meeting questions to ensure alignment with the client's expectations and added post-meeting questions to their debrief process to identify and address any challenges. These changes led to more successful meetings and stronger relationships with their clients.
To ensure productive and valuable meetings, sales teams should ask themselves pre-meeting questions, such as what they expect to achieve, what they do well, what could go wrong, how to prevent that, and when they will meet again. By anticipating potential challenges and developing plans to mitigate them, sales teams can better prepare to handle any situation that arises during the meeting.
After the meeting, sales teams should ask post-meeting questions to evaluate their performance, identify areas for improvement, and plan for future engagements. By asking questions such as what they expected, what went well, what went wrong, what they learned, and how they will improve, sales teams can gain valuable insights into their performance and develop strategies for success in future meetings.
Pre-meeting sales team questions.
1. What do we expect?
Discuss the objectives you hope to achieve during the client meeting
Examples could include closing a deal, clarifying project requirements, or building a stronger relationship with the client
Identify the key stakeholders and decision-makers who will be attending the meeting
2. What do we do well?
Identify the strengths of your team and the services or products you provide
This will help you highlight your value proposition to the client during the meeting
Determine how your strengths align with the client's needs and goals
3. What could go wrong?
Anticipate potential challenges or obstacles that could arise during the meeting
Examples could include disagreements with the client, technical difficulties, or miscommunication
Identify any potential external factors that could impact the meeting, such as market changes or competitor activity
4. What can we do to prevent that?
Develop a plan to mitigate any potential issues that were identified
Examples could include preparing for difficult questions, conducting a test run of any technical equipment or software, or creating a communication strategy
Assign specific roles and responsibilities to team members to ensure that the plan is executed effectively
5. When will we meet again?
Set a time for a post-meeting debrief with your sales team
Ideally, the debrief should be scheduled within a day or two of the meeting while the details are still fresh in everyone's minds
Determine if any follow-up communication or touchpoints are needed before the next meeting, such as sending additional materials or scheduling a follow-up call.
Post-meeting sales team questions.
1. What did we expect?
Review the objectives that were discussed prior to the meeting
Evaluate whether those objectives were met, partially met, or not met
Determine if any new objectives were identified during the meeting
2. What did we do well?
Identify the strengths of your team and the services or products you provided during the meeting
Determine if these strengths were effectively communicated to the client
Discuss how these strengths can be leveraged for future meetings or engagements
3. What went wrong?
Evaluate any challenges or obstacles that were identified during the meeting
Identify the root cause of these challenges and determine if they could have been prevented
Discuss potential solutions or strategies to overcome these challenges in the future
4. What can we do next time to prevent that?
Based on the challenges or obstacles that were identified, develop a plan to mitigate or prevent them in the future
Determine if any changes need to be made to the preparation process or communication strategy
Assign action items to team members to ensure that the plan is implemented
5. When will we meet again?
Schedule a time for the next meeting or engagement with the client
Ensure that the meeting is scheduled with enough time to implement any changes or strategies that were discussed during the post-meeting debrief
Determine if any follow-up communication or touchpoints are needed before the next meeting
In summary, asking the right questions before and after a client meeting is essential for sales teams to achieve their objectives, build stronger relationships with clients, and continuously improve their performance. By following a structured approach to pre and post-meeting questions, sales teams can improve their chances of success and provide greater value to their clients.