When you’re starting a sales conversation with a buyer, one of the most important and powerful things to do right at the start, is to set an agenda you both agree on.
If you don’t, it’s going to be really hard to get to a good, satisfying conclusion.
After all: if you don’t have a well-defined end-point, it’s difficult to reach it.
There are two basic ways to do it, depending on the context and background of the meeting.
The first is when it’s clearly understood that this is a sales conversation, and we’re here to figure out whether or not it’s the right choice for you to buy.
In which case, that’s basically what you could say:
“So before we get started, just to set the stage: We’re here to talk about your challenges, and whether or not our solution is the right choice for you. Does that sound fair?”
If the buyer agrees, then you have a shared, agreed-upon agenda, and you both know what you’re working towards.
The other option is when someone books an intro call, strategy session, exploration or discovery call, or something similar.
That’s not a sales meeting: that’s discovery.
In which case, a really good opener is:
“Before we get started, can you tell me what would be an ideal outcome for you, in this conversation?”
When you do that, you take the pressure off, and:
You give the buyer autonomy: you’re letting them decide what they want to focus on.
And because they’re there knowing that you’re a provider and you’re open for business, in most cases they’ll state something very closely related to figuring out whether or not they want to buy.
Of course there are many different openers, and you need to find your own languaging, but never forget:
Unless you define a shared agenda at the start, you’re not serving your business or your buyer as well as you could.
And serving is what you’re here for, right?
Right. Then if you want to REALLY serve your people, you need to become skilled at having honest, open, ethical enrollment conversations. Let me know if you’d like to have a chat about that.