What Dating Teaches Us About Face-to-Face Sales Meetings [INFOGRAPHIC]

Meeting a potential customer in person for the first time is a lot like going on a first date. After coming across each other online and a lengthy back-and-forth through emails, calls, chat and social media, both you and the prospect finally decide to meet face-to-face to see if it makes sense to take your relationship to the next level.

Like dating, in-person sales meetings involve a delicate balancing act of rules, norms, and customs. In fact, a lot of the best practices we follow in the world of dating also apply to the way we prepare and carry out face-to-face sales meetings. Here’s a neat little infographic that shows a few of these lessons.

What Dating Teaches Us About Face-to-Face Sales Meetings

Face-to-face meetings remain one of the best channels to nurture opportunities and to turn them into customers. A 2017 Harvard Business Review article says face-to-face requests are 34% more successful than emails.

That’s why, this Valentine’s season, let’s take a close look at some dating best practices to help us have better in-person sales meetings.

#1 There’s no such thing as over-preparation.

That old saying about first impressions is true. You don’t want to leave the wrong impression on your date or prospect because, in most cases, it’s going to be the only thing they’ll remember about you. That’s why, in dating and in face-to-face sales meetings, there’s no such thing as too much preparation.

So start your preparations by setting specific goals. Don’t just say “to learn more about the prospect”. Instead, write out what particular things about the prospect’s company or pain point you’d like to find out.

Also, your appearance matters more than you think. To make sure you’re properly dressed, think about the meeting’s setting and use social media to get a sense of the prospect’s style.

Always do your homework before showing up for a meeting with a prospect. Pull up the prospect’s CRM record, read up on relevant company/industry developments, or find a common personal thing you can bring up in your conversation. There’s a reason why 43% of singles google someone before their first date, and why 63% of B2B buyers start the purchase journey with an Internet search.

Related: 6 Ways a SMART Telemarketing Platform Doubles Sales Productivity

#2 It’s all about communication, communication, communication.

Recently, author Mark Manson shared the relationship advice he got from 1,500 of his subscribers. The survey showed that people in ongoing long-term relationships cited respect (not communication) as the number-one factor in a happy marriage.

But when you’re only taking the first steps in a relationship (such as when going on a date), it’s all about communication. You can say the same thing about meeting a sales prospect in person for the first time. Communication makes or breaks deals.

Related: What to do After a Horrible Sales Call?

Communication takes on various forms in an in-person meeting. It’s both what you say and what you don’t say—as well as what you do and don’t do. For example, the time you arrive speaks volumes: too early, and the prospect might think you’re too eager; too late, and there might not be a meeting when you get there.

You already know that communication is 93% nonverbal, so pay attention to both you and your prospect’s body language. What about the remaining 7%? Let your prospect do most of the talking, but don’t appear uninterested or (worse) unknowledgeable.

Related: 5 Data-backed Tips for Better Phone-based Sales Presentations

#3 The first meeting is only the beginning.

Obviously, the first date isn’t the time to be making some serious commitment. Although you really can’t fit relationships into a one-size-fits-all timeline, some sources suggest that it takes 6 to 8 dates before couples become “exclusive”.

In today’s fast-changing B2B buying landscape, where purchase cycles are getting longer and more stakeholders make the buying decision, the first in-person sales meeting isn’t the time to be closing. In fact, for complex-sale products, there isn’t much to expect from the first few in-person meetings other than to make sure there’s really a good fit.

That’s why there’s no need for the hard sell or to offer your pitch on your very first sales meeting. If everything works out, it’s only just the beginning. Instead of “always be closing”, why not try “always be following up”?

Related: 5 Winning Sales Cadence Examples (and Lessons to Draw from Them)

Happy Valentine’s!

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Get More Sales by Underscoring Urgency in B2B Appointment Setting

“In today’s multi-threaded, multi-tasking multi-verse, it’s no longer good enough to make a clear, compelling case about why someone should do something. You have to make a case about why they have to do it NOW.”

This passage written by Velocity Partners Co-Founder Doug Kessler back in 2010 sure does ring in sync with today’s tune. As new techniques are introduced into every marketer’s B2B lead generation campaigns, urgency should still be highlighted as an essential motivator for creating interest.

How else would you convince B2B decision makers to seal a purchase?

At some point, enterprises will still be able to acquire more sales leads, only to find that these leads would not go as far as setting an appointment with a sales rep. The main reason for this is the absence of a sense of urgency.

It is simply the way it works: By positioning a product to address a current and serious problem, you are implicitly giving a prospect a valuable option. Especially when the prospect conforms to your definition of a qualified customer, there is a higher chance for a sales conversion to take place.

Of course, it will take a good sense of navigating through a conversation to reveal “attack points” in which urgency can be played up.

In an excerpt from his article for, marketing professional John Barrows details the seven important things to remember when talking to prospects and filling them in on why your products are top priority.

  • Do your homework prior to the meeting to try and find out the publicly stated top business priorities.
  • Develop questions specific to finding out what those priorities are or how your solution can align with them.
  • Make sure you have a reason for your questions.
  • Ask your questions and dig for insight.
  • If the insight isn’t good enough, ask to be introduced to someone who can give you the insight you need.
  • Summarize their priorities and how your solution aligns. Get confirmation in writing (summary email, mutual action plan, etc.)
  • Confirm and highlight their priorities and your solutions alignment throughout your communications (update calls, proposals, etc.).

Creating effective conversations can guarantee that your product’s value is presented well, but it’s not enough. It is still vital to conduct constant monitoring of important metrics such as ROI and lead conversions. In addition, employing top notch appointment setters can up your sales gains.

Set more appointments by following these tips!

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Lead Generation Tip: Don’t Count on Numbers

As the US Presidential elections draw near, we see lots of poll numbers on who’s leading who and who’s gaining ground. In the end however, it’s the final vote that matters and despite the polls nobody knows exactly who’s going to win come November 6. In B2B lead generation and appointment setting, statistics do matter, but how much attention should marketers put into them?

Take for example companies engaged in online and social media marketing. Online marketers have a tendency to use raw statistics such as Facebook “Likes”, website visits, clicks, and page views as basis for the effectiveness of their sales lead generation campaigns. What I have noticed however with most online and social media campaigns is that, those numbers rarely translate to business appointments or sales, and therefore, mean nothing. Additionally, petty figures like these can cause distraction in a campaign.

My advice to B2B marketers using social media and online tools to generate sales leads: Do not use absurd metrics such as “likes”, clicks, and page views to measure your results. The only reliable indicator of success in lead generation is if you are actually generating sales qualified leads based on certain lead qualification standards set by your team. And this is true also for telemarketing and email marketing campaigns.

Forget numbers. Not everyone who “liked” your Facebook page, visited your blog, or clicked your banner is a qualified business lead. Focus on behaviors and actual interactions. After all, what people do when they visit your site or click your ad is what truly matters in the sales process.