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Appointments – Preparation

Appointments – Preparation
March 11, 2011 John

A well-qualified sales appointment is a real investment for your company. There are 3 aspects to a meeting.

· Preparation
· Presentation
· Follow up
“The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.”   –  H. Jackson Brown Jnr.

Appointments – Preparation

This appointment will be with a prospective new client and it is important to prepare for this first face-to-face contact. Research your prospect and the company he/she represents. Know what they do and don’t do!
This meeting will cost you  time and money so make sure that you make it worthwhile. The potential return on your investment could be substantial. It may give you a return of many £’s if you get it right.
This contact will have other suppliers and is meeting with you to assess your capability, track record and the synergy between you and him.

CMM_Character_Small2“When preparing for a Meeting always do your Homework.”

The company you target will be the one that offers the type and value of work that you handle well. The work should fall within your operational area as well in order that the new ‘client’ will have peace of mind about your management role. In order to accomplish targeting the ‘right’ people, a list  of contacts should be prepared before the process of “relationship building” can begin.
This first meeting is usually an evaluation of your services/products by the prospect for consideration at a later stage. It may take other meetings, several letters or emails and telephone calls before you actually get the first job opportunity. Don’t be discouraged! Learn to graciously persevere.  All good relationships take time to develop.

The rule of thumb is that it could be 8 contacts before you receive  that all important first enquiry.


I have asked clients what they think is the cost of attending a meeting and the responses do vary from nothing to a few pounds. Well, the cost to you is more than just a few pounds for fuel. If you add up the hour or so of preparation and the time taken for the meeting and travelling you may be looking at more depending on your situation. However, an appointment is more about investment than cost, if you have the opportunity to meet with a decision maker then make the most of it!

“I run on the road, long before I dance under the lights.”  – Muhammad Ali said about preparation.

What literature do you have that is relevant to this new contact? A simple, readable outline of your company with key facts about the company to underline your strengths, track record and policy statements. Have you a track record in this particular field of work? You may want to jot down a few points to help with the conversation and remember this is your company you are selling and your first ‘face to face’ meeting. Make a good impression! Always tell the truth. You cannot be perfect and neither do you know everything – so tell it like it is! People prefer honesty!

Ask Questions

Asking questions is usually very helpful in getting the ball rolling. The key question you need to ask yourself is “What makes my company different?” In marketing speak, “What is our unique selling point?” In my early days in the country I worked for a client and set 55 appointments for him in a year. At the end of that year he said the marketing was not working as he had expected. I was puzzled so I said I would come with him on the next appointment. I should have known, at the meeting he spoke about everything but what these directors were expecting. I finally spoke up and asked them about work opportunities. We walked out of the place with two good jobs in the bag. Ask the right questions and you will get results.

“Asking the right questions takes as much skill as giving the right answers. ”  – Robert Half.

We will look at Presentation and Follow Up in future posts.