Step 7: The Pre-Meeting Close

This is the seventh step in the process. The title is: The Pre-Meeting Close


Step Seven: The Pre-Meeting Close

Now, we’re up to step 7, and it’s the step that I call the pre-meeting close. This is the actual part of the conversation you’re going to have with the client, where the deal is closed, and it occurs before any conversation takes place. I’ll show you what I mean. You need to have an external orientation. You need to be focused more on the client and his needs than you even focus on yourself in the sales process, so forget about your product, forget about your service, you’re there to solve your client’s problem. This means spending at least 70-80% of the time listening, and only 20-30% of the time talking, and when you’re spending that 20-30% of the time talking, you’re using it as a discovery opportunity. You’re using it as an opportunity to: (1) understand what the client’s problem is, (2) offer to solve that problem, and (3) get the client to agree that if you can solve the problem, you will both work together. This is where the close comes in the 60 second sale.

Once the client agrees that if you’ve got something that can help them, that he will work with you, the deal’s done. You simply need to show the client then, at that point, that you can help solve the problem. Here are the questions we use in order to help the client understand that once you agree that he wants help, and you can help him, the deal is done. Now, I’m going to give you the questions in a language that I use all the time. You can convert it into your own language, it’s the concept that’s most important. When you sit down with the client, I want you to ask for a little background. I want you to ask the client how he got into the business that he’s in. This is a warm up question, it’s a question that gets your client comfortable talking. All of us love to talk about ourselves, we love to talk about how we got into what we’re doing, we love to tell the story, the creation story, of how we started this business, or how we got to the level we’re at now. Ask your client to tell you that story.

The next question is, ask your client what goals he has for the next year, for the next 6 months, for the next 3 months. When you sit down, you say, “Hey, Mr. Client. How’d you get into this in the first place? You built this company from scratch, how did you do that?”, he’ll tell you the story, and then you say something to the effect of: “How’s business going? What are your goals for the next year?” or “What are your goals for the next 6 months?” or “What are you hoping to accomplish this summer?”. This will help your client share with you the aspirations that he has for his business. You follow that question up with a question of, “What will achieving those goals mean for you personally?”. It’s really, really important that you find out why those goals are valuable to him. You want to know what achieving those goals will mean to him personally, because all business is personal. You want to connect with him on a personal level, you want to find out why you solving his problem, or you helping him achieve his goal, will be important to him personally.

The next question you want to ask, is what’s holding him back. “Mr. Client, what’s keeping you from achieving those goals?”, or “What’s holding you back? What’s keeping you from achieving the thing that you want most in life? What’s keeping you from achieving the goal that you just told me about?”, and this is important, because it’s going to give you some insight into how he’s been approaching his problem, and that will help you understand how you can solve it. It will help you understand how you can sell them. What’s holding you back from achieving these goals?

Then, the final question, this is the closing question. You simply look at him, and you say, “Would you like some help with that?”. Would you like some help with that? Here’s how it goes, “Joe Client, I understand that you wanted to take your sales to a million dollars a year in annual revenue, you’re at 800,000 now. What’s holding you back? What’s keeping you from getting to the million dollars?”. “Well Dave, what’s holding me back is the simple fact that I can’t hire really good sales people. I’m finding it very difficult to hire them, I don’t know where to find them.”, “Hmm… That’s interesting. Would you like some help with that?”. Now, you’ll get 1 of 2 responses. The first response will either be, “Sure, I’d like some help with that.”, or the response will be, “Well, what do you mean? What would that look like?”. It’s almost unheard of that anyone would say, “No, I don’t want help with that.”. Everyone who has a goal, and wants to achieve that goal quickly, is always looking for a short cut. If you’ve set this up properly, and they view you as that short cut, and you offer to help, they will either say yes, or they will ask what that looks like, and that’s the door that’s open, which will allow you to close the deal.

Let me take you through these questions really quickly, once again.

Question #1:How did you get into this anyway? I understand that you built this from scratch, how did you get into this?

Question #2:What’s business like? What are your goals for the next year? What are your goals for the next 6 months? What are your goals for the next 3 months?

Question #3:What would achieving that goal mean to you personally? What would achieving those goals mean personally?

Question #4:What’s holding you back?

Question #5:Would you like some help with that?

That’s the pre-meeting close. You can do this, either in advance of your meeting, or you can do this when you’re sitting in the room, across from the person, and you’re just starting the conversation. This is where the deal really is closed, and once you get to this point, you need to simply detail how you can help them, and then you’ve got yourself a deal, and you’re probably going to do it in 60 seconds.