• December 18, 2014

Turn Meeting Confirmations into Selling Moments

You are a successful salesperson. You have a lot of clients and potential buyers. You have high sales targets and your weeks are full of meetings and calls. Everyday you send out meeting requests and your clients or prospective buyers have accepted them, but are you confirming your upcoming meetings? Will your customers remember they are meeting with you, or even know why they’re meeting with you?

If you don’t confirm you appointments, your client may not be ready to meet you and that can be a terrible waste of time. Once, a colleague and I drove two hours from my office in Amsterdam to Eindhoven to meet with a senior executive at ING Group, one of the largest banks in Europe at the time. The drive was long, but we were excited for the opportunity to land ING as a client.

When we arrived, the ING executive was anything but happy to see us. He greeted us by saying he had “no idea why his secretary had even booked the meeting”, and told us he only had five minutes to listen to us. After the five minutes were up, he kicked us out and actually told us that he had no interest in us following up with him so he didn’t even want to give us his card.  Clearly we hadn’t use the Spiro app to help remind us to confirm our meetings. And clearly this illustrates the importance of meeting confirmations.

Objections to Meeting Confirmations

Sales representatives make all kinds of excuses for not sending out meeting confirmations. No doubt, they have incredibly busy schedules and it takes time to send out a meeting request. It’s a pain to log in and send the reminder, or they honestly just don’t remember to send out the confirmation at all. And often they simply rely on the accepted meeting request as a proxy for actual confirmation.

Turn Meeting Confirmations Into Sales Engagement Moments

As you can see from my ING story, taking a small amount time out of your schedule to confirm the meeting, can actually save you a lot of time and effort. Instead of seeing it as a pain, look at the ways you can use the meeting confirmation email as another opportunity to sell or to gather information on the prospective client.

Gather information on your client and what they hope to get from the meeting by asking questions like:

  1. Who else is coming to the meeting?
  2. Do you think we should invite Todd from the accounting department?
  3. Who else at XYZ Corp should I be meeting with while I’m there?
  4. Are there other people in St. Louis you think I should see while I’m in town?
  5. Do we have the right agenda for the meeting?

The personal interaction will be much more useful to you than what you would get from some relationship app.

Confirming Meetings Makes You Look Professional

It’s been about five years since the long drive I took (and back!) from Amsterdam to Eindhoven for that terrible sales call, and frankly, I’m still a bit upset about it. Besides avoiding the waste of time that I endured, confirming meetings will make you look more professional, prepared and focused on your customer.

Meetings take planning and effort, but a successful meeting can go a long way to building lasting relationships with your clients. You don’t need a sales assistant to start your meeting off right by confirming the meeting and planning out what you want to accomplish.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user ING Netherland.