5/8 steps to win at every single sales meeting
In this series, I take you through eight key steps to plan your B2B sales meetings in a way that sets you apart from the competition.
By building continuous momentum, providing value, and advancing sales at each step, you will ultimately get more (and faster) closed business.
Preparation is the secret to closing sales — and it needs to happen for every encounter with a prospect. Before each meeting, answer three key questions:
Why should this client meet with me?
What do I want my client to do?
How can I provide value in this encounter?
Step 5: Clarify continuation vs. advance
“Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.” — Alfred A. Montapert
Have you ever been trapped in an endless back-and-forth with a potential client, which ends up going nowhere? To stop wasting precious time and effort on such “pretend opportunities”, learn to differentiate between these three concepts:
1. Close — a commitment to buy. This is the final step of the sales cycle, which marks the transition to ownership and use of the product/ service.
2. Advance — a significant step that costs the potential client some kind of effort, time or money. This moves the sales process forward, towards a decision.
3. Continuation — no specific action is agreed upon by the customer to move forward. The sales cycle continues.
Closing the sale is an obvious step. But it’s easy to get confused between advance and continuation, which can cause the sales process to drag on and on — without any concrete outcome.
For example, you might find yourself in situations like the below, over the course of several months:
From an early contact, “They mentioned knowing client XYZ. I emailed them some information.”
At an on-site visit, “I was able to get useful data.”
From a meeting, “It went well — they loved my demo.”
On another visit, “We met for breakfast and I followed up with literature.”
Upon visiting, “They were impressed by our stuff, and I offered them a sample plan.”
From another contact, “We conducted another demo.”
From another visit, “We strengthened our relationship over coffee.”
After yet another call, “I checked if they wanted a proposal and costing, and they said yes.”
All of these are continuations — not a single one of them counts as an advance because they didn’t cost the client anything significant. Continuations indicate only interest and curiosity — which are nice, but not a good enough reason to keep investing your time and energy.
An advance, on the other hand, gives you reasonable assurance of a positive outcome. Without an advance, the sale cannot move forward.
So, your objective for every sales encounter should be some sort of an advance — not a continuation.
A continuation that is frequently mistaken as an advance is when the prospect asks for a proposal. Remember, this only indicates curiosity about pricing. It doesn’t require any commitment or effort from the potential client, so it’s an easy request for them to make. Don’t read too much into it!
Hi there, I am Maddy. I help B2B & SaaS founders get first 1000 customers and scale fast!
Sales is a science. Just like you engineer your product into existence, I can help you build a sales and marketing machine to help people see how your product changes their lives for the better.
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