Four step process to follow for any first prospect meeting

Written by: James White

The first time you have a meeting with someone you either have a chance of winning business or potentially losing it.

In this blog, I am going to share with you a simple four-step process to follow for any first meeting you have with a prospect Whether it’s a referral or a new opportunity, this four-step process is going to help you stand a better chance of carrying on that conversation and winning the business.

The first conversation is critical and unfortunately so many salespeople get it wrong. They end up talking too much, they end up pitching, and they blag on about how great their company is. They forget the fact that the prospect they’re talking to doesn’t care about this!

Your prospect only cares for what you can do for them.

Remember this simple LAPS model when you’re thinking about sales conversations in the future.

LISTEN

Your job is to talk for no more than 20 to 25% of the conversation.

Your job is to listen – use two ears and one mouth, in proportion.

Focus on trying to get to know your prospect and what’s going on in their world. It’s a massive factor in sales conversations, and those people that listen get brilliant sales results!

ASK QUESTIONS

You should have a list of questions on hand, always. Here is a link to my 52 qualifying questions that you can ask when you have a conversation with someone.

Use questions such as:
• Tell me more about what it is you’re looking to achieve?
• What made you want to have a conversation with me?
• How big is this issue for you and what are the implications of not resolving it?

There’s a range of questions you can ask at the right time and in the right way within the first conversion. When you do this right, great things happen.

Sales is all about asking questions that are open allowing the other person to share what they are thinking. From that, you can then gather information and decide on the next best steps.

PROBE

Most salespeople don’t seem to know that you’re allowed to probe into the answers that you get from your prospect.

Be empathetic when you say, “You mentioned {X}, I really wanted to know what you know what you meant by that?”, or, “You told me about a {particular issue} that you had in this area. What went on there? Tell me more.”

The whole idea is you want to probe with empathy and a really nice tone to make the other person know that you’re really interested in finding out what’s going on in their world. This encourages them to open up and share nuggets of information that are critical for selling.

When you probe, you find out information that lies beneath the surface. It’s those bits of information that empower you to know if you can solve their problem in a meaningful way.

Have they had previous challenges where they tried to do something that didn’t work? Have they made investments before that didn’t realise anything for them? You will find out much more information when you probe. Just make sure you’re not coming across as interrogative, no one wants to feel like they’re under investigation. Probe with empathy, ask the right questions, and those shut door’s will start to open up for you.

SUMMARISE

Summarising your conversation show your prospect that you have understood them, and that you have really captured their requirements/their challenges/their issues.

“Thanks ever so much for your time today, James, I’ve really enjoyed chatting to you and what I’ve heard from you is {this}, {this} and {this}.”

Follow this with another effective question, “Have I summarised that correctly or have I missed anything?”

You should get a “yes, that’s great” response. If you get a “no”, at least you’ll be able to nip whatever may have been misunderstood right from the start.


When you summarise correctly, this shows you are interested in them and it should give them some insight that you’re someone they want to work with. This also leads you onto the next stage of the conversation, which is to move to a next meeting or a proposal. Whatever you are looking to do, don’t forget to ask your prospect what they’d like to do next. We’re here to help them afterall.

There you go, a simple four-step strategy to remember when having that first prospect conversation. Listen, Ask, Probe, and Summarise and you won’t go wrong.

Use this strategy in the right way, and you’re going to get the sales results you want.

 

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Publish date: 26 August 2022

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