We want you to think about your last sales appointment. What was your objective? The most common response is, "to make a sale." But, is it really?
Last week we invited you on a sales road trip. In our sales trip the destination is the sale. However, every trip has stops and checkpoints along the way. Times to rest, making sure we are on the right road, stops to evaluate the trip, and places to pause and make necessary adjustments. Likewise, each sales appointment or prospect interaction should have checkpoints, which are achieved by setting objectives. Objectives pave the way to check in with the prospect to make sure they know where you are in the trip and how much further the trip will take.
If you focus only on the sale and not where your prospect is, the sale often won't be the result. However, if you focus on a specific objective for each meeting, you are now focused on the journey you are taking with your prospect, and that leads to higher sales results. Therefore, the objective of a sales appointment should be more specific than "making the sale."
The objective in meeting a prospect for the first time may be different for each person in your sales organization. One may feel it should be to build rapport, someone else to understand the prospect's needs better, or even someone else may feel it is to educate the prospect about what you can do for them. Each of these people is doing the same activity - meeting a prospect for the first time. However, they each have a different objective in doing so. And if the objective is not defined, then there will be a different or unknown outcome from the prospect.
For a meeting to result in the prospect continuing the sales road trip, the objective of each meeting needs to be established before the meeting. If the objective of a meeting is well defined, then you are clear on exactly what you want the prospect to experience. In addition, with a clearly defined objective, you can even let the prospect know it at the beginning of the meeting: "Hello, Mr. Prospect, my objective today is to make sure you understand ..... and, that I answer all the questions you have on it." You just told the prospect what is about to happen. By stating the objective, the prospect is more engaged in the conversation to reach the same objective. Then, at the end of the meeting you may ask, "Today, I wanted to make sure you had a clear understanding on ....; was that accomplished?" Now you are not only making sure the objective happened, but you are getting confirmation from the prospect to continue the road trip with you. And in doing so, you are closer to the destination - the sale.