Salespeople tend to be social by nature and that can be a double edged sword. The good part is that they can very often build relationships with people, the bad part is that they spend so much time socialising that they forget about the business!
If your salespeople are getting client meetings but not getting business then there is a good chance this is exactly what is happening!
The client makes time to meet, and your rep has a decent rapport. The conversation focuses on some non threatening subjects like sports teams or golf, followed by some personal stuff like kids or hobbies. If the client is smart they will get some information from the salesperson about what they are seeing in the market and before you know it the allotted time is up!
“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses—behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.” Mohammed Ali
The salesperson leaves feeling good because it was a “great meeting”, “the client really liked me” … or some other such “non revenue generating” points.
The client might be okay with the meeting, but will not have addressed any of their business needs … so they could actually feel like they wasted time, because nobody has time to spare these days!
How do you get your salespeople to address business issues, and potentially ask for business?
One answer is to have a standard practice of using a meeting agenda for every sales call!
It forces the salesperson to ensure there are valid business reasons to have a meeting;
It puts in black and white the kinds of subjects that lead to business discussions;
It demonstrates that you are professional;
It is a good sales practice; and
It demonstrates that you will not waste your client’s time.
A client can always change the agenda as they see fit, but at least with an agenda there is a starting point that has some thought behind it.
“Thorough preparation makes its own luck.” Joe Poyet
Build good sales habits … ALWAYS use agendas, so you remember to ASK FOR THE BUSINESS!