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5 tips for a successful first sales appointment

Preparation, presentation, negotiation, conclusion… A sales appointment involves a certain number of techniques that you should know. It’s an art to turn a lead into a client.

Get informed in advance

90% of the time devoted to a sales appointment is in its preparation. This means gathering a maximum amount of information on your point of contact so as to personalise your discourse. You are, of course, going to Google their name and visit their social profiles. You will discover their background and the relationships they may have in common with you.

It’s the same approach for the company that they represent. This means correctly understanding its activity, its offering, its positioning. Sparklane for Sales can help you to assemble quantified data (staff, turnover, etc.) as well as business signals (appointments, fund raising, product launches, etc.). Opinions left on social networks or discussion forums are also precious elements in order to grasp the market’s perception of your lead.

Set a goal and share it

What are you expecting from this first appointment? Just an initial contact? An informal meeting accompanied by a general presentation? A recommendation for a given need? Or the direct sale of a product or service? This goal will dictate the content of your appointment. This intention must also be known by your lead so as to avoid any misunderstanding. They must not feel caught off guard if the appointment takes a turn they weren’t expecting. Both of you will have wasted your time.

Determine a plan…

In your head, you already have your initial pitch, two or three arguments that hit the bull’s eye, and an unstoppable conclusion, in which the obvious benefits of your solution will force the decision.

For your presentation, try to surprise. Instead of the eternal PowerPoint lining up slides and bullet points, use new tools such as Prezi, Bunkr or Sway mixing dynamic animations, infographics and short videos.

The presentation should be concise and paced to let you quickly proceed to a demonstration, if the nature of the solution you’re selling lends itself to this. Support your discourse with concrete client case studies.


…so as to be able to move away from it

Be wary of the tunnel effect. You haven’t set off like a train that has to arrive at the station on time. Play the interactivity card. Even if he has given you just half an hour, your interlocutor should be able to interrupt you at any point to ask for a clarification.

This exchange is even the key moment of the appointment, the moment at which it all changes. By demonstrating empathy towards them, you can get them to open up and talk about what’s really happening with their current project, about the difficulties they’re experiencing. They have recognised you as a peer and want your external view. Perhaps they don’t have many opportunities in house to talk about their current work.

Don’t avoid any sore points, such as the competition — allow them some strong points — or the cost of your solution. You too have your beliefs and are not prepared to do absolutely anything to get a deal. You defend your point of view and know how to say no. It’s what we call assertiveness.

Know how to conclude

The appointment is drawing to an end. Your interlocutor has to feel that the time he has given you has been profitable. This is the moment to summarize the salient points of your intervention and ensure that your performance matched the initial goal. Then specify the next stage: sending missing information or a commercial proposal, holding a second appointment to develop a very specific point… In the second case, immediately set up a date and time to meet. As the old saying has it, strike when the iron’s hot.

Discover an excerpt from the white paper: “How sales intelligence is transforming B2B sales”



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