The Early Bird Gets the Sale – by Jaclyn Goldman
Are you in sales and experiencing difficulty pinning a client down for a meeting? Or have you arranged a meeting with a client only for them to cancel on you last minute?
Having been in sales for 10 years now, I have heard it all. Sure sometimes your client may legitimately be too busy or have had some sort of emergency arise and they are unable to meet with you, but what do you do when you feel like your client is constantly dodging you?
Do you keep trying to get that 10am appointment only to show up and have them cancel on you last minute and waste your valuable time?
Do you ask them out to lunch and risk that their day gets too busy and they can’t escape the office? Or even worse, they invite their entire staff along and are too busy socializing amongst themselves to gain any value from your meeting!
Remember, your time is valuable too! You are in sales and time is money. Don’t waste time scheduling appointments that are inevitably going to fall though. Presumably you are selling a product or service that can be of value to your client. You just need that perfect time to sit down with your client and have a mutually beneficial meeting.
How do you find that perfect time for a meeting?
Arrange a Breakfast Meeting
This is the perfect solution to dealing with a dodgy client. Breakfast meetings are ideal for a number of reasons:
- No excuses! Everybody has to eat and what better way to start the day than with a great breakfast? The best part is, it won’t infringe on their busy schedule.
- Mutual Respect: Most people eat breakfast before going to work, so if you arrange a breakfast meeting before their regular work day you are also showing them that you value and respect their busy schedule and they will respect you in return.
- No distractions: It’s first thing in the morning and the day has just begun. Your client likely hasn’t gone to their office yet and thus, hasn’t had the opportunity to get distracted before your meeting. You will likely have their undivided attention.
- Cereal Position Effect: Ok it’s actually called SERIAL position effect, but since I am on the topic of breakfast I thought that pun was appropriate. The serial position effect is a psychological term used to describe a human tendency to best recall the first and last items on a list. If you apply this principle to the meetings you schedule throughout the day, you and your client will likely recall more from your meeting if you are the first or last meeting of the day. Breakfast meetings have an advantage over dinner meetings because both of you are awake and ready to tackle the day. Dinner meetings on the other hand, may be less productive as you may both be tired and distracted after a long day’s work. Furthermore if alcohol is consumed during that meeting, your client will likely retain less information.
- Breakfast is cheap, short and sweet! At most restaurants breakfast will cost less than $10 per person, take less than an hour and provide the fuel you need to have a fabulous day! This should give you plenty of valuable face-to-face time with your client. Just don’t forget to ask for the sale when you pick up that tab!
I’m sure most of you are thinking, “Ugh, that would mean I have to get up so much earlier!”.
Yes, yes it does my friends. But I assure you, it will be worth it. If it seems too tough to get up that early, then finish your meetings earlier. For instance if you have a 7am breakfast meeting and your last appointment of the day is at 2 or 3pm, you’ve put in a full day.
My territory is so large that often when I have a breakfast meeting at 7am, that meeting may be a 2.5 hour drive from home or my hotel base. I tell, you that is an early start!
When you are on the road that early, there are well, let’s say , many ‘oddballs’ out there. That being said, stay tuned for Part 2 of this article: The Early Bird Meets the Boogeyman.
That’s right, I said the boogeyman.
Safe Travels my friends!
The Travelling Saleswoman
Jaclyn Goldman is the author of The Travelling Saleswoman blog. She is a savvy pharmaceutical sales, marketing and business development professional who has managed veterinary accounts across Canada for the past 10 years. She has acquired a significant amount of experience not only selling, but also making travel plans, In her blog she shares her sales tips, travel tips and adventures she has had on the road ranging from sales calls gone wrong to all the crazy things that can happen while en route.
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