When you ask sales managers how they feel about communicating with their prospects before a scheduled meeting, their responses will be completely for or completely against the idea. This is especially true for salespeople who are meeting prospects for the first time and the opportunity was generated by cold calling. Those against the idea of pre-meeting communication feel that it increases their reschedule and cancel rates; whereas, those that are for pre-meeting communication feel that it helps enhance their meeting, and increases its value. While these are legitimate concerns there is a solution that will work for both sides of the pre-meeting communication debate.
It’s always a good idea to communicate before a meeting as long as you follow best practices. The first best practice is to communicate via a LinkedIn invitation. Not only can you see if the prospect accepts your invitation, you can also see if they’ve looked at your profile. Another important thing to do is review your notes. In a previous blog, I suggested to write down exactly, word for word, what was said when the meeting was scheduled and not to stray from the prospect’s original reason to meet. In any of your pre-meeting communications, regardless if it’s a live call, voicemail, email, or calendar invitation, include the original verbiage word for word to ensure you stay on task. This technique keeps you focused, it helps remind the prospect why they scheduled the meeting in the first place.
Another best practice is to inform the prospect that you’ve completed your research and are ready to meet. Prospects will feel more committed to your meetings when they know you’ve invested some time into maximizing the benefits both of you will get out of the meeting. The number one reason people reschedule or cancel meetings during the confirmation process, is because the pre-meeting communication includes verbiage that tries to uncover pain points and/or tries to sell the prospect. The confirmation process is meant to confirm the meeting, don’t go down the B.A.N.T. (Budget, Authority, Need and Timing) path. If you just can’t stay away from the urge to sell, try this trick- call during the day for the sole purpose of getting your prospect’s extension. Then, the night before your meeting, call the prospect and leave a voicemail using the best practices listed in this blog. Implementing these best practices will decrease the number of meetings that get rescheduled or cancel and will enhance the quality of your meetings.