Have you ever felt a meeting get away from you?
You’re sat with a couple of prospects and they start talking about all the things they want to do. You wanted to run a discovery meeting or pitch a solution to them.
Before you know it, the meeting has gone off track. They’re talking a lot or you’re talking about tactics and you know things are getting away from you.
Maybe you feel that you’re giving too much away. Or maybe you feel it’s going to sound really awkward when you try to wrap up or “sell” the final product.
Typically we have meetings and we should end them on a call to action. Something like a task that NEEDS to be done.
If it’s a discovery call, I’d want to send over a proposal or pitch. Or if it’s a pitch, I want them to sign.
Speaking of which, we have a proposal and closing module in our Sell Your Service Coaching.
So how can we regain control of a meeting?
Call attention to bringing it back
First, even if the customer is talking NON STOP, we want to call attention to bringing it back to focus.
I know that customers have to talk, they have to answer our questions. Our job is to let customers and prospects answer our questions.
But sometimes…they just go off piste, ya know?
So first, we want to bring the focus back to the agenda.
Hey, I’m glad to see you’ve got so many ideas! I want to make sure we get the most from our meeting. So tell me…
What we’re doing is politely, but firmly showing we’re in control. Even if people are yapping and yapping away, we can interrupt them with this sentence.
Ask about goals
When we want to regain control of a meeting, finish the sentence above with “tell me about your goals”.
If you’ve already got their goals, then move onto the next stage – roadblocks.
If they’ve only got a few goals down or none at all, then continue with asking for their goals.
So tell me about your goals. Where do you want to be?
Ask them about customers, revenue, traffic, leads, subscribers. Ask about their personal goals, what do they want to see from the business?
Do they want more time, more staff? What are their goals.
Remember, if they go off on a tangent, keep bringing it back with
Hey I’m glad to see you have so many goals! That’s great to see. Are those your main goals or are there more?
Let them get all their goals out and ask them which their priorities are. Repeat back to them their priorities and make sure they agree with you. Now we can move onto roadblocks.
Ask about roadblocks
So if they’ve already given you their goals, but they still won’t keep on track OR you’re worried the meeting is getting away from you, say the below.
Sorry to interrupt -or- Dave, am I right in saying that goal 1, goal 2 and goal 3 are your priorities?
Excellent. So what’s stopping you from getting there? What are your roadblocks?
Roadblocks are what’s preventing someone from achieving their goals. No knowledge, lack of subscribers or traffic, no advertising. There are loads of reasons that businesses aren’t where they want to be.
Ask about their roadblocks and make sure you REFRAIN from offering your own opinions. You’ll have that opportunity later.
If you already know their roadblocks, you can move onto their current situation.
Ask about current situation
Again, if a meeting is getting away from you, we’re just going to bring it back with a simple call.
Cool, so we’ve got your goals and roadblocks. Tell me about where you are at the moment. What about your traffic, advertising, customers etc.
We want to get as much information about their current situation. If you want ideas on the right questions to ask, check out our post on marketing funnel questions here.
The more we know about where they are, the better. We get a better idea of where a customer can go, by seeing where they are.
For example, if they want to increase revenue by $250 000, that’s a very different task when they’re already at $2.5 million or $50 000 a year.
Get a profile of where they are compared to their goals and roadblocks.
Now this is where most meetings completely go off track. We know that asking for a proposal or asking for their business is scary. They could reject us!
So we let conversations peter out or go off track because we’re not sure how to close the meeting. Below, is how you’re going to close the meeting.
Repeat back main goal and roadblock and current situation
First, we repeat back their goals, problems and roadblocks. We want them to agree with us. We have to agree with them and they have to agree with us. So we repeat back what we know they want.
So Dave, just to wrap up. It sounds like you want to get to $250 000 a year. At the moment you’re at $150 000 and you feel that your lack of advertising is preventing that. Does that sound right?
We want them to agree with us. If you repeat back their main goal, roadblock and current situation, they’ll agree with you.
Now here’s how we close a meeting without looking awkward.
Does it sound productive if we focus on that?
So they’ve agreed with what you’ve said about their goals and problems. Finish with this-
Does it sounds like we should focus on that?
Yes. A million times yes. They’ll say yes.
Now we’ll follow up with a call to action. This requires YOU to know what you want from the meeting. Do you want to send a proposal or ask for a deal?
Remember that your call to action is HELPFUL to them. Offering to heal a broken leg is helpful. Offering to show them what you can do, how you can help or talking action is HELPFUL.
Great! Would it be helpful if I sent over a proposal -or- would it be helpful if we got started on this today? All we need is a signature.
And that’s about it. How to gain control of any meeting.
Remember to call attention to bringing control back to the meeting. Make sure you’re in control of the focus of the meeting. Then ask for goals, roadblocks and their current situation.
Wrap up and close a meeting by repeating back the main points of the conversation. Then once they agree, close by asking them if they want help.
It might feel awkward at first, but this script is what you need to keep control of meetings AND get the results you want.