Join Mike Gamson for an in-depth discussion in this video Prepare for the meeting, part of Selling to Executives.
- Congratulations, your executive prospect agreed to meet with you. That's exciting, but now the work starts. It's time to prepare for the meeting, so the first step is to do your homework and I mean really do your homework. Not like you did your homework when you didn't care about it at some point in school, like your job depends on it, because by the way, it does. Become an incredible expert on all things related to this company and this executive, but specifically look for pieces of information that might be able to accelerate a natural relationship formed between you two.
Did you grow up in the same area? Did you go to the same schools? Do you maybe care about the same teams? Was there a shared work history in any of the companies that she worked or that you worked? You're looking for tidbits of information that can give you an opportunity to start that relationship with some positive momentum. Next, you want to build on the fact that you are an expert in all things her and all things her company, so learn her organization. Know every one of the names of her peers and her direct reports. Know what they do, so that in the conversation in the meeting, you can without effort move between people and ideas as if you were part of her team.
You're trying to convey the feeling that you're already on the team, you're already aligned, you're already working toward a shared purpose. And then, you want to make sure that you know everything about the history of your two companies working together in the past, 'cause remember, you're not the first rep to try this account. There may be something that went well, or that went poorly, you need to know about it. She may know about it and you don't want her to know anything that you don't know about your shared history. You always want to become an expert on her work history, what was she doing before she got here? What's her background and experience? Was she at a company that used her solutions before? Did they use a competitor's solution? You want to try to get to an inference of the bias she may have about her likelihood to engage with what your conversation or not.
This next piece of advice, should go without saying, but I'm going to say, because I've observed enough sales reps in my history, to know it's worth saying. Know your own solution cold. You have time to prepare. You need to become literally the world's biggest expert on what your solution does for her business. Take the time, review everything about your solution, know every detail, make sure there's literally nothing that can be brought up, that you would be uncomfortable answering, or that you would hesitate with.
Building on that, across all of this information and preparing for this big, big meeting, there's something that I learned many years ago that has stuck with me. One of my mentors said to me, "Mike, amateur's practice "until they make the shot. "Pros practice until they can't miss." What that means is, often times we stop practicing when we think, okay I just did it, I've got it. But a real pro, a pro rep, a pro athlete, a pro musician, they keep practicing, and practicing, and practicing, until there's literally nothing that can happen that can make them miss.
Be that pro, in your preparation and practice this until you literally cannot miss.