6. Observe your prospect carefully. During the meeting, is your prospect sitting forward and nodding with interest, or is he or she sitting back with arms folded and head tilted to one side, indicating a lack of connection, boredom, disinterest or disbelief? Be aware of the physical cues your prospect is sending you and respond accordingly.
7. Ask qualifying questions. A new business meeting isn't a "pitch." It's a conversation--an opportunity to uncover your prospect's needs and to present solutions for meeting them. If you find yourself doing all the talking in new business meetings, you're probably talking yourself right out of business. It's just as important to ask good questions and listen carefully to the answers as it is to provide solid, helpful information. One of the most important and often overlooked questions to ask is, "Are you the person who will be making the final decision?"
8. Present case histories. Case histories are stories that demonstrate the ways you've successfully met the needs of your customers or clients. Prepare about half a dozen case histories demonstrating a wide range of capabilities, and be prepared to discuss them in your new business meetings. Case histories are great for positioning your company against competitors that offer similar services. Never directly criticize a competitor. Instead, present a case history (in other words, tell a story) that demonstrates the benefits your customers or clients have enjoyed by working with you.
9. Offer good solutions. In order to successfully close any business transaction, the prospect must be convinced you provide the solution to his or her challenge. It all comes down to how well they believe your product or service will meet their needs and their confidence in you to carry out your promises. To close, summarize your suggested solution and answer any final questions that may stand in the way of the prospect's decision.
10. Take action. You've gotten fully prepared, used property observations, asked great questions, listened carefully to the answers, presented case histories and offered solid solutions. Now it's time to ask for what you want. It's amazing how many entrepreneurs take a meeting successfully to this point and then simply stop and walk away without closing for their primary goal.
If you're having difficulty closing, it may be because you haven't provided sufficient reasons for your prospect to buy. In that case, go back to step seven and ask why. If you've followed the advice in steps one through nine, your prospect will be eager to get moving and may even help you close. Don't be surprised if he or she asks, "When can we get started?"