Getting Things Done author David Allen tells us there are only five reasons for a business meeting. Five. That’s it. Make sure everyone agrees on the purpose of the meeting beforehand. If you’re not sure of the reason, you have no business attending, let alone planning the meeting! Check your calendar against this list; you might be surprised.
Sales interactions are meetings, too. Yet many sales people call on a customer without a clear plan for their meeting! I’ve adapted each of the five reasons to a sales example below.
1. Get information
“Mr. Customer, I’d like to visit you at your factory to better understand how you’re adapting to the new government safety regulations that came out this month.”
2. Give information.
“Let’s have lunch this week so I can share some new findings that just came out of our market research team.”
3. Develop options
“It sounds like you’re having trouble implementing the new system. Could our two teams meet to review the challenges and explore all the options that might be available?”
4. Make decisions
“Let’s get together this Thursday morning to come to a consensus on what’s going to happen next.”
5. Warm magical human contact
“Let’s have coffee next time you’re in Los Angeles. I’d like to introduce you to my new technical partner. I think you’ll really get along well!”
There may be several reasons for the same (sales) meeting.
“In the morning we’re going to share information about the new product set. In the afternoon let’s brainstorm options for your South American office. That night we’ll all go out to dinner to celebrate last year’s success.”
Just make sure you can name at least one reason!