HAVE you ever been to a meeting that didn’t quite go the way you thought it might?
Perhaps you got sidetracked or derailed and ended up not achieving the sale as you had planned or hoped.
Maybe that was because you had not carefully prepared for that all-important meeting and, worse still, maybe you didn’t have a meeting agenda?
Agendas help you prepare for the meeting
When I started my business in the year 2000, my mentor drilled this idea into me that it was critical to prepare for any meeting — be it a sales meeting or something else.
“Always have an agenda”, he said.
“It shows the prospect you are serious about the meeting and it keeps the meeting on track to where you want to take it.”
In the early days of my business, I shadowed this man around town and watched and learnt.
He always carried a daybook, and in that daybook were records of every meeting. And at the top of every page was the agenda that drove that meeting.
Agendas take the client where you want them to go
If you are a sales person, you will surely want to guide the meeting to your pre-determined destination — a sale or perhaps the opportunity to submit a proposal or quote.
Either way, if you have a plan, you can guide the meeting to that destination.
Think carefully about the meeting beforehand.
What information do you need from the client? What information do you need to share with the prospect? What is the final outcome you want from the meeting?
Agendas build trust
Having an agenda builds trust with your clients or prospects.
When they attend a meeting with you, they know you are prepared and have thought carefully about the meeting.
They know you will be business-like and will stick to the point and not stray into time-wasting side conversations or, worse still, gossip!
Of course, if you have a tendency to stray from the task at hand, the agenda will serve you well to keep you on track.
The agenda should be clearly on display so that both parties know what is coming next.
Remember, your client can contribute to that agenda if he knows what you have written.
In fact, I always run through the agenda I have prepared for the meeting with the client to get his buy-in and commitment to the process. This again builds trust.
Agendas target outcomes
Finally, having an agenda targets an outcome. Think carefully about the outcomes you seek from the meeting before you begin.
You don’t have to write the outcomes down, as you may not wish your prospect to know what you have in mind for him.
Having an agenda item that says “sell one million dollars of product” may be frightening for your prospect!
Be clear about your desired outcome, and then think about a plan B or a plan C if the meeting does not quite go the way you had hoped.
If I am going into a sales meeting, I always have a figure in mind that I want to achieve.
I also think about the best outcome, that is, an agreement on what comes next.
Hopefully, that is the confirmation of the agreed sale or (my plan B) at least a proposal.
Think of it this way: No meeting agenda equals no sale. So take action now. Start documenting that agenda.
Article by Lindsay Adams, relationship marketing specialist, international speaker with Training Edge International and 2009–2010 international president of the Global Speakers Federation. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.trainingedgeasia.com