Master The Meeting

Ask good questions

How can you tell if a meeting is going well? It's probably on the right course if your prospect's doing most of the talking. Some new entrepreneurs believe a sales meeting calls for them to razzle-dazzle the prospect, throwing out a lot of information as quickly as possible. On the contrary, unless you're making a presentation, a prospect meeting requires you to ask good questions, listen thoughtfully to the answers, and respond with benefit-oriented information that shows prospects how your business can help them achieve their goals.

Ask a combination of closed-ended questions (to uncover facts) and open-ended questions (to reveal the emotion behind the answers). Share case histories that demonstrate how you've solved similar problems for other customers. There's rarely a cookie-cutter solution to any sales challenge. Every prospect has different needs. You must uncover those needs and the rationale behind your prospect's objections to successfully close the sale.

Kim Gordon is the owner of National Marketing Federation and is a multifaceted marketing expert, speaker, author and media spokesperson. Her latest book is Maximum Marketing, Minimum Dollars.

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This article was originally published in the January 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Master The Meeting.

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