In their most recent post: “The Sobering Truth: Why You Can’t Sell to C-Suite Executives,” Gong’s analysis of 39,105 sales meetings found that successful sales meeting with executives include around 4 qualification questions, while unsuccessful meetings averaged more than 8. There is a noticeable drop off in success after 4 questions. Executives don’t like going through what I call the “doctor checkup” phase of the meeting where the rep asks a list of qualification questions they seem to be reading through as a checklist.
Ideally, by the time you reach the meeting with the executive, you’ve been able to gather enough of the qualification information so you can focus on the discussion and talking about bigger picture, more strategic topics that executives are more interested in. However, sometimes it’s unavoidable that you need to get some additional details before you have a good enough understanding of what they have and need. For this reason, I created the Meeting Efficiency Survey.
The Meeting Efficiency Survey is a brief online survey I send to clients before our meeting that is filled with drop-down, checkbox type information the client can easily fill out. It gives me the information I need to prepare for the meeting more effectively and stay focused on the client’s needs, instead of the details of their existing situation. This allows the client to obtain answers from different stakeholders (often from different parts of the organization) in an organized manner.
Some of the information for my type of sale (sales training) includes: average deal size, sales cycle length, how many inside versus field sales reps, priorities when looking into training, main challenges you’re looking to address, etc. This information may come from the head of sales, multiple front line managers and perhaps members of the finance and/or legal teams.
The day before the meeting I send a shared agenda and include a link to my Meeting Efficiency Survey asking the client if they could spend 5 minutes filling out the survey to save us time, help me prepare and keep the meeting focused on their needs. I usually only get about a 20-25% response rate with people filling it out, but the quality and conversion rates of those meetings are double compared to the ones who don’t fill it out.
The most meaningful benefit you get from using this is time to listen to your prospect speak about what they are looking for and the challenges they face. You can use your time on the phone asking open-ended questions to better determine how your services and solution can assist them, rather than asking standard qualification questions (that likely every other vendor they are considering has asked as well). Generally, prospects who take the time to fill out this survey are much more serious about their inquiry, are usually further along in the sales process and have a higher conversion rate than those who don’t fill it out.
If you feel like you’re interrogating your prospects, you might want to try including this into your process and seeing what happens. You can set up a free survey account using tools like Google Forms, Survey Monkey, or TypeForm, etc.
Make It Happen!