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Are You Missing The MOST IMPORTANT Part of Your Sales Encounter?

We’ve been discussing the value and importance of agendas and one of the most valuable aspects of an agenda is that they provide time to establish action items and next steps.

In order for you to facilitate and affect positive change for your prospects and keep their project moving forward, it is vital that you allow adequate time in your agenda to establish action items and next steps.

Dilbert – Meeting Are a Complete Waste of Time

Business meetings are infamous for being unproductive and a waste of time. The number-one complaint about most meetings is “nothing was accomplished.” Don’t let your meeting become another casualty in the pile of dead meetings at the corporate assembly graveyard. Make sure something does get accomplished in each and every interaction by allocating time to establish next steps and action items. When the meeting arrives at this item, thank the participants for the valuable discussion and transition to Next Steps.  You’ll never miss it because it’s built right into your agenda.

Working Through Action Items

At this time address any obvious action items that have arisen during the course of the meeting and work through any the next steps. Be careful to define:

  1. What needs to be done
  2. To whom it is assigned (you or the prospect)
  3. The target time-frame to complete it

Sometimes, salespeople have concerns about committing prospective clients to completion dates for action items or next steps. Relax. Simply ask something like, “When should I check back with you on X?” That will establish your target time-frame.

Gaining Your Ideal Advance

This section of your meeting is the place for you to get commitment on your ideal advance as well as secondary or fall-back advances which, of course, you will have defined prior to even creating the agenda. After addressing the obvious action items, ask for your idea advance. (I recommend using The Perfect Close for this)  Regardless of their answer, follow up by suggesting one of your secondary advances as a fall-back or an add-on.  This will pace the sale at the rate the client is ready for.

“It is vital that you allow time in your agenda to establish action items and next steps.”

This is, literally, the most important part of your meeting. Your prospects expect you to help them make the positive changes that will bring about their desired results. They expect you to encourage them to become better than they are. You can do this in a facilitative and non-confrontational  way. Push your clients and prospects toward improvement. Accept the challenge. Be their coach and guide them through each little commitment it takes to achieve their goals.

Understand, this is much more than you advancing your sale. This is leadership.
So few people have true mentors and leaders in their life. So when you arrive on the scene with a path that leads them to improvement, and you guide them through it — however challenging or difficult it may be; however narrow in its scope — they will thank you.  This is the sweet spot in selling.

“This is much more than you advancing your sale.
This is leadership.”

This is also the time, while everyone is still present, to schedule the next meeting date. If the meeting disperses without setting the next date, it will make it that much harder to schedule the next meeting. Take advantage of everyone being in one place to get this settled. If your request is met with any uncertainty, then suggest to “pencil in a date” that can always be changed later. This ensures that you have something on the books and a commitment for further collaboration.

Always end every meeting with:

  1. A review of the agreed-upon action items, and
  2. The date for the next meeting

As a follow up, in an email to the attendees, thank them for the productive meeting, summarize what was discussed, list the action item assignments and deadlines, confirm the next meeting date, and begin the collaborative process of creating the next agenda. This is professional and ensures that everyone is on the same page.

“End every meeting with a review of the agreed upon action items and the date for the next meeting.”

Closing Tip:  Incorporate Action Items & Next Steps into every agenda.

Until next time!


PS – Download sample agendas for your next sales encounter at:

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