Now that I begin the final 30-day countdown of my project, it’s a good time to return to the topic of sales. I’ve never actually wanted to be a salesman. But I’ve wanted to learn about salesmanship and it seems I constantly end up giving sales speeches anyway. The single most useful thing I’ve learned from all sales training it is this:
Always start a meeting with the following steps.
- Small talk. Just something to avoid an awkward silence. I’m not particularly good at this but it helps if you think of a topic or two in advance.
- Available time. No matter what you’ve agreed previously, recheck the available time. After the schedule has been confirmed, neither party should be in a hurry.
- Target. Every meeting must have a target. Preferably one simple understandable target that can be mutually agreed upon.
- Agenda. To get to the target there has to be an agenda. This can be a written agenda or just a verbal agreement on how to proceed to the target.
To remember this, there is a good mnemonic from the initials: SATA. Following these steps is not only useful in a sales meeting but in all other meetings as well. If you’re attending a corporate meeting, it never hurts to ask these questions. If you’re invited, you have the right to know why you are there.