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A Guide to Dream Client Sales Meeting Preparation

You’ve landed a meeting with a dream client that changes the trajectory of both your career and your company. Given the size of the deal, the project and preparation are also going to be correspondingly large. Seems overwhelming, doesn’t it? Not if you follow this guide.

  1. Outline the process in a formal, written timeline.
    While it’s a good process to follow with any meeting, one that’s this important calls for a step-by-step outlining of every phase of preparation. Set markers of objectives such as “Finish research on company structure”; “Complete first draft of agenda”; “Finalize collateral with Marketing”.

    When plotting out how long each phase of preparation will take, be sure to leave in time to think about the various tasks involved and a buffer against unforeseen obstacles or crises that interfere with planning. This is something many people fail to do when devising timelines — instead, they plot things out according to best case scenarios (without realizing they’re doing so).

  2. Line up collaboration with other departments.
    This is exactly the kind of situation where you want to bring in your subject matter experts and other technical experts. They can help you devise strategy that speaks to the specific details of your solution and, in some cases, would be an asset to bring with you to the meeting. If you do have them participate in the presentation, be sure you work in tandem with them when it comes to rehearse the meeting itself and keep them updated on project developments.

    Another likely cross-department collaboration is working with the marketing team on relevant collateral to distribute to the audience in advance of the meeting. And of course, with this type of enterprise-level deal, you’ll need to coordinate with and update the leadership team. Other departments, depending on your specific vertical and the client in question, might be involved as well.

  3. Disseminate the agenda ahead of time.
    One of the most critical tasks will be to create an agenda and send it out to participants in advance of the meeting.

    The agenda should be detailed enough that it has everyone on the same page (including your team) and sets the stage for discussing necessary items. Sending it out ahead of time will also give your audience space to prepare questions, rather than just relying on spontaneous questions — which can lead to post-presentation questions that might delay the sales process.

  4. Conduct a deep dive into the client.
    While we all know the importance of researching a prospect, it’s even more vital for the big fish. Therefore, the usual standbys of social media, news reports, and discovery calls is only just the beginning.

    You’ll need to go deeper — understanding the psychographics of decision-makers is critical, and if possible, you should do what you can to find out the web of relationships within the organization. Who nominally wields power by title isn’t necessarily who has the true influence and ability to make or break a sale.

    Just as this is multi-departmental effort on your end, so, too, is the buying decision likely to involve more than one department. That means you’ll want to approach intelligence gathering from multiple angles. After all, you don’t want to succeed in convincing the influencers and decision makers, only to get undermined by their legal or procurement team, for example.

  5. Once you’ve established everything, practice. A lot.
    Because so much is riding on this presentation, you’ll need to rehearse your presentation repeatedly. Consider getting buy-in from your colleagues to stand-in for your audience, having them portray the individual influencers and decisionmakers based on your profiles of your target audience members.

    The process is similar to political candidates preparing for debates — after all, candidates sell themselves and their solutions to voters’ problems in an election, just as you’re selling yourself and your solutions to your buyers’ problems in this presentation.

  6. Give yourself the night off right before the presentation.
    If you’ve been following this guide, you’ve worked for weeks — if not months — preparing for this once in a lifetime pitch. Therefore, give yourself rest and relaxation the night before the presentation. One more night of cramming won’t make you any more prepared, and a good’s night sleep will have you waking up refreshed and ready.

Getting a chance to pitch to a major client is a real milestone in a sales rep’s career. To be successful, they’ll need to be backed by a total team effort, diligent and complex preparations, and repeated rehearsals. The hard work will be made all the sweeter when that dream sale closes.

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