When it comes to sales meetings, a lot of things can go wrong.

Nobody wants to leave disappointed and feeling like they just wasted their time.

No one wants to waste too much time on travelling, either.

According to Salesforce, 60% of sales representatives have seen an increase in virtual meetings since 2015.

This means that you’re more likely to talk to your potential client online instead of seeing them in person.

Wondering what you need to do to improve the effectiveness of your online sales meetings? Keep on reading to find out!

First of all, we need to answer the most important question.

What should a sales meeting include?

There are a few key suggestions in that matter.

During every meeting, you need to know what you want to accomplish. It’s crucial to define your purpose, and here’s where the SMART framework might come in handy.

It is also sure to simplify your cooperation with the potential customer.

What does the acronym SMART actually mean, though? It means that your goals and rules, not only during the meeting but also during the entire partnership, should be:

Specific

You have to know clearly what the goal is and what you want to achieve.

The goal needs to be defined unambiguously, with no room left for interpretation.

Want to close a deal? Define exactly what’s included in the contract.

Trying to extend the budget? State your requirements clearly – is it 20% more or $1000 more?

Measurable

You need to know what exactly done means.

It makes sense to create a checklist for the project so you can measure exactly what has been achieved and what else needs to happen to meet your sales goal.

Achievable

It's important to know the limitations, both in your team and on the client side. This way, the offer is much more likely to meet the needs of everyone involved in the sale.

Relevant

Be sure to ask the client about their specific requirements. Once you know them, it will be much easier to get on the same page and prepare a relevant sales offer.

Time-bound

Does the meeting really need to last one hour?

The attention of the participants tends to drop significantly after 30 minutes.

In their articles, Hubspot suggests holding 20-minute sales meetings.

This may help you focus on the crucial parts of the deal and keep the potential client more involved.

What’s more, don’t forget to set a timeline for your sales process. Hitting the goal is much easier with a deadline in mind!

Here are our tips to help you to improve sales meetings with your customers:

Create a clear and concise meeting agenda

A meeting with a huge list of objectives will be too long, too complicated and people will start to feel overwhelmed.

To conduct an effective sales meeting, you’ll need to prepare an agenda.

When you have a plan, your contractor will feel more relaxed and confident at the same time.

Here’s how to create a successful agenda for your meeting:

Start with a clear update

If it’s not your first meeting, you need to ensure your customer that everything is on track. Be sure to provide a quick report and update the status of the deal.

Show, don’t tell

After you’ve provided your client with an update, show it to him.

Give some data and figures.

Show what your sales team has achieved and what you’ve done to meet the client’s needs.

Give your customer tangible proof that your teams are going to achieve all purposes, or that they’ve already achieved it.

Make it short and sweet

We all have a lot on our plates, which is why you should focus on the most important updates only.

Don’t forget to leave some space for the questions, too. Make your client feels that you respect their needs and they can speak openly.

Give your clients a choice

You’re more likely to close the deal if the client feels that they’re being treated with respect. Start from the moment of making an appointment.

With tools like Harmonizely, you can send an invitation link with different time slots to choose. The potential contractor can pick a date that suits them best.

Be on time

It seems so obvious, but we’ve all participated in the meeting which started 15 (or more) minutes late, right?

Being on time is your first opportunity to make a good impression.

You can show respect for both your own time and, what is more important, for the time of the attendee.

Remain focused on the main issues

You’ve decided what the purpose of the meeting is – now you need to stick to it.

Don’t try to talk about every single aspect that pops up during the meeting.

If you try to cover everything, you will be short on time when it comes to most important issues. This means you need to keep track of the agenda, time and flow. You’re much better off discussing one crucial item in-depth than six items briefly.

Alright, but what if your potential client has some questions about the deal? In this case, answer them in a brief way and assure them that you’re going to send a follow-up email with all the details included.

Set buffer times

It’s not just about starting on time and ending on time. The time before and after the meeting matters too!

Instead of looking at your watch stressfully, you can set buffer times for your meetings. They're meant to include coffee breaks, travel time and so on, but there's much more to them than just that.

Buffer times between meetings avoid overlapping meeting room reservations and generally make things a bit less stressful for everyone.

During your presentation, you will feel more confident just because the clock won’t be ticking in your head. You won't be feeling like running from one meeting to another. Everybody needs to take a deep breath sometimes, after all.

Use plain language

During a sales meeting, not only what you say is important, but also how you speak.

Allow your customers to ask you about the details they want to know and dispel their doubts.

What’s more, keep in mind that your customer may not understand all of your industry jargon.

Be sure to explain the terms that might seem unclear for someone who’s not in the know.

What about the sales language? It makes sense to use some proven sales techniques and power words, but it doesn’t take much to cross the line.

Above all, make sure you sound natural and trustworthy.

Don’t get too pushy – try to provide value to your client instead.

Finish with a recap

Don’t leave your partner hanging – always end your meetings with a little sum-up.

Summarize everything and outline our plans, just to be sure you and the client are on the same page.

Afterwards, the next steps need to be clarified. Your contractor should know exactly what needs to happen next.

Summary

The main takeaway to keep in mind for your future sales meetings is to respect your client. When they feel that you’re treating them as an equal partner, they’re more likely to trust you and close the deal.

Do your best to make their life easier – this is exactly why they want to buy your product, so why not start from the sales process?

If you would like to read more tips and tricks for effective meetings, you’re sure to find this blog post useful.