9 Tips to Outstanding Initial Prospect Meetings

There’s a big mystery in my house… what happened to the other sock?” Over the last few years after folding laundry, there was always a sock or two that did not have a partner. I started to save and collect these individual socks in hopes that someday we would find their mate. It rarely happened! So, I started asking questions. I interrogated every family member with their answers eventually leading me to numerous successful reunions. I would no longer have to send my daughter to school with two socks that “looked alike” (do not try it, it does not work) or buy packs and packs of new socks.  Read on to learn my additional theory on the case of the missing socks. 

As the best life lessons typically do, this brought me back to the business world. Are you doing proper investigative work with your tactics of questioning?  Are you going into meetings knowing the company’s issues and problems in advance so you can directly position your line of questions around that issue/problem?

If these phrases ever come out of your mouth… just put a sock in it.

  1. I want to learn more about your business.
  2. I want to find out your pain points and what keeps you up at night.

No one wants to tell a stranger what keeps them up at night and where their pain points lie…would you tell a stranger? They also do not have time to “tell you about their business.” With today’s technology, you should already know about their business and come prepared to that initial meeting with the base knowledge to conduct deeper questioning.

At 3BC, we focus on using meaningful and deliberate tactics to be more curious in our questioning. Decision makers come in a variety of personality types: direct/assertive, friendly/jovial, defensive/combative, and maybe even someone who is a little bit of everything above. It is 100% up to you to set the tone and climate during the meeting; it is not their personality type that is going to make a sales appointment a success or a failure. When it comes to asking the questions that are going to produce effective answers, there are a few tactics we have learned over the years that can help:

  • Ask one question at a time.
  • Get to the point with one sentence questions.
  • Stop talking… genuinely and actively listen to and care about their answer (even if you disagree).
  • Do not show up and throw up… product puking is not allowed… resist the urge.
  • Ask real questions, not advice disguised as a question.
  • Always ask follow-up questions. Examples: “Why do you feel that way?” “If we did that, what do you think would happen?””
  • Most trainers teach you to ask questions that you already know the answer to. I disagree. Ask questions about things you do not know, a sincere curiosity.
  • Have planned pauses, it will give you and the client time to think.
  • Do not chime in with your own opinion; you’re gathering information for a future recommendation.

If you have truly created a meeting setting of curiosity and discovery, you and your prospect will feel and appreciate it. Active listening is extremely important. You’re either doing it or you’re not, but the good news is that it can be developed with practice. This will put you one step closer to being truly curious and an elite manager or seller. 

Now back to the unsolved mystery. Through my questioning, I have found the answers (socks) in my daughter’s soccer bag, behind her dirty clothes hamper, and stuck in a pair of pants. But there is still one suspect that I have not been able to use my tactical line of questioning on. I truly believe that this character below could hold the rest of the answers to the missing sock epidemic in my household.  Her name is Ginger, she just looks guilty right?

Please comment back to 3 Bridges Consulting on what questioning tactics have worked for you with man, women, child, animal, or prospect. Follow us on LinkedIn at 3 Bridges Consulting to get access to all of our blog content.

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