Years ago I participated in a professional services sales training refresher.
Back to basics: Introductory sales call
As the sales call gets underway:
- Introductions and pleasantries
- Reconfirm meeting agenda and objectives
- Reconfirm amount of time allocated for the meeting.
Shortly thereafter, earnest Peter Arnstein, eager to roll out his newly-polished sales call skills, having secured a much sought-after first meeting to explore opportunities with a prominent, successful CEO turned private equity investor:
- Introductions: check
- Meeting agenda: check
- Reconfirm time allotted:
Me: “How much time do you have?”
Prominent and successful CEO / investor: “Depends if you have anything worth spending time on.”
Lesson: Indicate consideration for value of counterpart’s time. Offer an estimate of time expected, along with an option to be briefer.
Epilogue: I recovered from my opening gaffe. The meeting turned out ok. And I noted (and have never forgotten) that sometimes open-ended questions don’t work very well.