Eric Wolfram's Writing, How To Sell -- The First Meeting

Sales Strategy and Tips for a First Meeting

These notes are intended as a guideline for the first sales meeting with a buyer. It is not expected that all sales meetings will go this way, but we believe that our salespeople will find it useful, in many cases, to use parts or all of these guidelines. They are based on The Everything Selling Book.

The objective of the first sales meeting is to build rapport with the buyer and understand his needs.

The aim is to get the buyer to feel like he is our partner and to feel invested in helping us work together to come up with a solution to his problems. We need to keep the door open so that we can come back to the buyer with a proposal to solve his problems.

Here are the basic steps:

Selling -- Precall planning

Read the notes in the intranet. Read all your research about the company. Study the buyer's web site and search the internet for articles about the company.


Aim to arrive in good time, but enter the office 5 minutes early. Bring business cards, notebook and pen, something to read while you wait. Dress the same as the customer, but take care of your appearance.

Icebreaking and the Sale

When you introduce yourself to the buyer, look for smalltalk that can help establish a rapport. Some tips: common interest; something in the office that catches your eye; something that you can ask about the buyer's business. Aim to transition to business quickly.

Outline the Selling agenda

  1. Introduce ourselves
  2. What we do (very brief)
  3. Get an overall sense of buyer's business
  4. Collaborate to understand buyer's needs (most of meeting)
Get buyer involved in process by asking: How long have we got for the meeting? Is there anything you want to accomplish today?

Big Picture

Some ideas for questions to get an overall sense of a buyer's business.
  1. Can you describe your business?
  2. What type of properties do you manage?
  3. How many properties do you manage, how many units?
  4. What are your business objectives for this year?
  5. What challenges does your business face?
  6. How do you see your competition?
Remember to use open-ended questions, as far as possible.

Also, try to identify the psychological reasons that a propect will use in the purchase decision. We have found that there is often the temptation to bullshit a customer when they express need for a feature that is unavailable -- you ca\ n avoid this tempation. Basically, it's common sense. Honesty is the best policy. By being honest about a short comming of our product, the prospect learns t\ o trust us. Almost every time in a sale, when I have indicated that our product may not be right for the prospect, the prospect becomes more interested. Try \ it sometime or even, everytime.

Understanding a buyer's specific needs

Good questions get a buyer talking about his needs, so we can sell what they want. Plus, questions help get a customer emotionally committed to a sale, but getting them to invest their precious time in working with us to come up with a solution.
  1. What process do you use for managing customer requests and work orders?
  2. Are there any problems with the current system?
  3. Do your customers feel that you are offering a good service in this area?
  4. Describe your computer infrastructure?
  5. Do you have an internet connection, a database?
  6. What staff time is involved in administering your office computer systems?
  7. Do you have in-house computer expertise?
  8. Do you have any concerns in the area of tracking customer requests or work orders?
  9. What are your biggest unmet needs in terms of managing data?
Very important (from The Everything Selling Book):

No matter how insistent buyers are, don't start explaining your product or service until you've explored their needs in detail.

Present our solution

Towards the end of the process of understanding a buyer's needs, we should paraphrase the buyer's concerns to indicate we've understood, and clarify the problem that needs to be resolved.


Write up notes in the intranet. Follow up communications (eg. thank you email).

About This Page
I keep this page so that I can remember the books I read before an important meeting. It's really for my own maximum effectiveness. You can use them of course, and please let me know if anything on this page is misleading, needs updating or additions.

Please feel free to link to this page so that others can find it. It's easy to link to this page, just copy the text below onto your web page:

<a href="">How to have a good first sales meeting</a>

Notice of Copyright | More Sales Training, Tips and Techniques