The #1 Question You Should Ask During Your First Sales Appointment

Sales appointment questions

The prospect you’ve been dying to speak with finally agreed to a face-to-face meeting. All of your persistence paid off, and you’re ready to make your pitch and seal the deal.

Not so fast.

All the effort you put into getting that meeting is wasted if you go in for the kill too quickly.

When you first sit down with a prospect, you need to prep them in order to get them into buying shape.

So, let’s say you’ve scheduled the sales appointment, and you’re sitting down, face-to-face with a prospect. What’s the first thing you should do? And what simple question should you ask? Here’s a simple guide to securing the sale during your first meeting with a prospect.

Build Rapport by Making Connections

Are you more likely to buy something from someone you like, as opposed to an unknown face? Of course, you are. So how do you get a prospect to know and like you, the salesperson they’ve never met with before?

The answer is simple: before the meeting, spend time searching for your prospect on Linkedin or Facebook. Find out who the prospect knows, and the connections you have in common. Then, once you’re in the meeting, you can mention this mutual connection.

For example, let’s say you’re selling a product, and to build rapport, you mention a mutual friend your prospect respects. By mentioning this mutual friend, you gain a connection and you build trust. But you gain another advantage as well: The prospect will treat you with respect, simply out of respect for your mutual connection—and he’ll be more likely to listen to you.

The clout you’ll build by establishing a connection helps propel your sales presentation later. Consider how your sales presentation would go if you were strangers, with no connections. The prospect could very easily treat you poorly and reject your offer—or never even let you get a word out. The rapport you’re building acts as a layer of protection. It’s your own insurance to close the deal.

This process doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Search for prospects in social media, and identify common friends, interests or groups. You can search on Facebook and LinkedIn, for example, and then target the friends that match both platforms.

The Most Important Question to Ask During Your Appointment

Your sales appointment is a two-way street. Once you introduce yourself and share a connection, you need to get to know the prospect. The best way to accomplish this is by getting the answer to one simple question: What are the prospect’s pain points?

Start by asking general questions. For example, if you’re meeting with a payroll client, ask the prospect to think about their perfect payroll system. What features would it have? What features would they do away with? As the prospect is talking, take mental notes of the pain points you’re hearing.

After listening to their answers you’ll know exactly how to approach the prospect in your sales presentation. Now you have the ammunition to hone your presentation to hit those pain points and showcase how well your product or service resolves their problems.

Instead of wasting time and effort on what is essentially a cold sales prospect, build rapport first. Once you’re on equal footing, you have credibility and respect, and you can find out what keeps your prospects up at night. Then, fine-tune your sales presentation to deliver targeted, profitable results. Instant sales presentation success.