All sales professionals understand the importance of getting sales meetings with prospects. They help achieve targets, increase that sought-after bonus and improve a company’s bottom line.
Unfortunately, securing meetings that you think stand a good chance of converting isn’t as simple as waving a magic wand and saying “abracadabra”
There are several reasons why your reps might no be getting enough appointments, including the lack of a prospecting plan and misplaced outreach communications.
In this ultimate guide to getting more sales meetings with prospects, we look at how you and your reps can achieve more meetings and, ideally, smash targets using these key tactics.
It All Starts With a Prospecting Plan
If you think picking up the phone and making a few random calls breeds results, disappointment will likely ensue.
People that don’t know who you are will be less inclined to talk to you. Build a sales campaign, though, and you can plant the seeds before making initial contact. The key here is organization and strategy.
It’s not as simple as reaching out as and when; instead, you need to map out a systematic process for generating leads which will then, in turn, lead to more sales meetings with prospects. The result will be a campaign that etches itself into your sales process and is easily replicated across the entire team.
That campaign needs to start with a solid outbound platform…
Use Smarter Outreach Methods
Create a series of outreach methods designed to educate people about your product/service. There isn’t one set way of reaching out, and you should have multiple channels to maximise reach.
- Build email templates that are clear and concise. Include a call to action and, most importantly, make them read like they come from a human
- In 2017, Direct mail still garnered a 5.1 percent response rate.
- Send direct mail communications that contain valuable information about your organization
- Create events and invite prospects to give them a taste of what the company has to offer
Stat Attack: Personalized email messages increase click-through rates (CTR) by 14% and conversions by 10%, according to Aberdeen
If prospects already have an idea of who you are, they are more likely to encourage dialogue.
Bonus tip: Bonus tip: While marketing automation software is helpful, it’s better used for nurturing campaigns. When it comes to outbound sales, however, relying solely on automation is risky. You don’t want to be seen as spamming as you could easily lose the trust of your prospects. If using automated campaigns, ensure that your make your initial outreach sound authentic
Do Market Research. Conduct a Survey
It can be hard to keep up with market affairs as they continuously change and evolve. Doing your own market research acts as a powerful driver to get prospects on side and set up sales meetings.
Attract future customers by starting closer to home and focusing on current ones. Customer feedback is an integral part of any company’s mission to improve.
Conduct surveys with current clients and implement a feedback strategy. Ask why they choose your product over the competition; how they use the product; what challenge the product solves; and what influenced their buying decision.
Record the results and present them to prospects in outreach communications. Not only are you offering the value your company authentically brings to clients; you will also gain credibility.
The results should see prospects more inclined to arrange a sales meeting.
Become a Thought Leader
Increase Awareness. Speak at Events
People listen to experts—it’s as simple as that. Thought leaders often come in the form of individuals rather than entire companies. But the knock-on effect will be positive for the overall brand if one person is seen as an expert.
CEOs are often viewed as experts, but it’s also common for the VP of Sales and sales managers to build their own profiles by speaking more frequently at events.
Stat Attack: 47% of C-suite execs and decision makers said thought leadership content had a direct impact on awarding business, according to Edelman
But how do you position yourself and, ultimately, your brand as a thought leader? Public speaking is a good way to start—get yourself in front of a crowd of people and talk about problems your industry faces.
A room of 50 people offers an opportunity to generate more sales meetings with prospects. Some speaking engagements can even be in front of as much as 1,000 attendees. Share experiences, current trends, and challenges that you have observed in the industry.
Just two or three speaking events per year have the power to get you in front of thousands of prospects, who will come to view you as an industry expert, and can lead to more sales meetings.
Write Articles for Industry Press
Work with marketing to craft insightful articles about issues in your sector and submit them to industry publications. If you aren’t proficient at writing, get a content writer who can turn your experiences into engaging words.
Many industry publications are on the lookout for a story or a unique take on topics. These publications help get your words in front of many eyes. And those eyes could end up being arranging a sales meeting.
Talk About Your Experiences in Podcast Interviews
Podcasts are a big deal at the moment, and there are plenty of popular sales ones out there. Volunteer yourself for interviews and provide opinions on podcasts and for industry press interviews.
Just one or two speaking engagements, well-placed articles or podcast appearances can be enough to get the ball rolling and increase chances of more landing more sales meetings with prospects.
Network. Network. Network
Networking is one of the most tried and tested methods for growing your customer base—and it’s still an essential practice today. The more people that you can put your company in front of, the better.
Events are an excellent place to start but don’t stick to industry-related ones—especially if your prospects come from several different sectors. Be creative and look for events that bring together a collection of industries and experiences.
The technical age we live in makes it easy for us to stay rooted to our desk. But getting out in the field and mixing with prospects face to face affords an opportunity to have a preliminary sales meeting or provide an initial pitch before setting up something more formal.
Call in Favors. Get More Introductions
Ask for introductions and remove some of the guesswork behind acquiring sales meetings with prospects. Take a moment out of each day and speak to people you already have relationships with to see if they can introduce you to potential clients in their network.
Reaching out to people already in your network won’t take long and could bear fruit in the form of new clients. A handful of new introductions per week adds up and, before you know it, you’re talking to new prospects and getting more meetings.
There is, of course, the networking that doesn’t involve you moving from your desk. Social media platforms have brought us closer together and are a certified way to gain more sales meetings.
Whether it’s on Twitter, LinkedIn or other social networks, search for people that you feel will benefit from your product and aim to build a relationship them. There are tools available to help you create a list of prospects and increase the chances of securing a sales meeting.
Use Software to Track Your Prospects
Once you start seeing the benefits of using these tactics to achieve more sales meetings, you will need a system to keep track of everything. Lead management software is designed to build prospecting lists and navigate their journey through the pipeline to a converted client.
It keeps the sales process simple by focusing on the next step. This is especially helpful for members of your sales team when their diary fills up with sales meetings with prospects. Managers also have clear visibility of which meetings are scheduled.
Once a meeting has finished, reps update the system with the result of the meeting and label the next action to be taken.
Provide Value to Prospects
Any prospect that you approach is going to ask themselves “what’s in it for me?” You and your reps need to be ready to answer that question every time you reach out to a tentative prospect.
Whether it’s through initial outreach campaigns, showing yourself as an expert, building your network, or doing market research, you must demonstrate that you understand the prospect’s pain points. Be able to answer how your product/service is able to solve their particular problem.
We know these are a fair few tips to take in in one go. But fear not—you don’t need to do all of them at once. Select two or three that you think will work best with your prospects, try them out and hone them to your set up.
By creating a plan and being consistent with your outreach, your organization will start gaining more sales meeting with prospects.