Meeting with a New Prospect: Ways to Win Them Over

BY Rachel Cagle
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Once you’re in a meeting with a new prospect, how do you get them progressively interested in your product or service? “Starting a relationship with someone who's never heard of you or isn't actively looking to solve a relevant challenge is tough,” says Jeff Hoffman, writing for HubSpot. Choosing the right course of action is the key to landing a sale. Here are a few you can choose from.

Meeting with a New Prospect: Ways to Win Them Over

Earning a Meeting Using a Phone Call

First thing’s first, you can't land a meeting with a new prospect without initial outreach. A sales call is the most direct way to accomplish this.

Hoffman recommends starting conversations with how your product or service could benefit the prospect rather than introducing yourself. He gives a few sales call scripts as an example. Most sales reps start their calls with an introduction along the lines of, “Hi! I’m Jeff from Boston, and I sell sales training and consulting products. I’d like to introduce my services. Is this a good time?" This isn’t an effective tactic for a few reasons. The main problem is that the first few sentences are all about you. “This is who I am.” “I’m selling this.” “I want to tell you more about it.” If you’ve never met this prospect, they don’t care about you. Therefore, they won’t care about your call if you start it this way. Also, you’re giving them a way out by asking if now is a good time without offering other dates and times for a follow-up.

Instead, make the call about them from the very beginning. For example, Hoffman recommends something along the lines of, “Hi. I got you live on my first dial, and when you hire me, I'll teach your sales reps how to do the exact same thing." You need to get a prospect’s attention if you want to land a meeting with them. Afterwards is when you introduce yourself and set a time for a meeting.

During the Meeting

Hoffman recommends building your sales pitch around empathy when meeting with a new prospect. When you connect with a prospect’s emotions, they’ll be more interested in continuing the conversation. You can go about this a few ways:

  1. Let the prospect be the teacher
  2. Use social proof
  3. Utilize convenience

Let the Prospect be the Teacher

One of the keys to connecting with a new prospect and earning their trust is to engage them in conversation. Prospects want to feel heard and understood when they’re talking with sales reps who are promising help. One of the main problems reps face when meeting with a new prospect is that they focus on being a teacher. After all, they’re the expert when it comes to their product or service. They need to show the prospect the ropes and help the prospect understand the benefits of what they have to offer. While this is true, teachers don’t often converse. They monologue. And that can be damaging to a sale.

An easy way to prevent yourself from monologuing during that first meeting is to switch roles. “Think of it this way,” says Hoffman, “we’d all generally agree we don’t talk to strangers. But if a stranger approaches you on the street and asks for help, you’ll probably help them.” If you want to learn more about a prospect’s pain points, goals, or more about what they expect from the meeting or you, just ask them for help. Let them be the teacher at the beginning. Ask them to help you figure out exactly what they think they need to accomplish their goals or what it is they’re hoping to gain from meeting with you. One of the benefits of being a student is how much you’ll learn that you can use to your advantage later on in the meeting.

Use Social Proof

Unfortunately, sales reps aren’t seen as trustworthy right off the bat. They have a reputation for being driven by money and personal gain. And they’re obviously biased toward their own product or service. Therefore, if you want to earn trust when meeting with a new prospect, you need to provide evidence that you can be trusted. That’s where social proof comes in.

Your current clients are the best source of social proof. They’re people your prospect can relate to. Your current clients also have no reason to lie for you. If they’re happy with your product or service, they’ll say so, and they won’t lie if the opposite is true. So, use them to your advantage. Routinely ask your clients for reviews, either through surveys you send out or by asking them to post on your website or social media pages. Then not only are those recommendations available to prospects when they’re researching you before the meeting, you can also pull reviews to use in your presentation. Boom: instant credibility.

Utilize Convenience

Once you have used the meeting with a new prospect to win them over, you can’t scare them away. How could you possibly do this at such a late point in the sales process? By overcomplicating things. If they have to read through and sign a stack of papers to complete the sale, they’ll be less inclined to do so. Making closing the sale an easy task is the best way to ensure everything goes according to plan. If your company’s contract is lengthy, be with the prospect when they sign it so that you can give them a basic rundown and answer their questions. Otherwise, they may feel the process will take up too much of their time. Or, you can just email them later on and as for a simple “yes” response from them in order to get the ball rolling. Convenience is key. No one wants to do something that will be frustrating, exhausting, or overly complicated.