Sales meetings

Sales meetings are like sex. The best bit is at the end.

It is simple, ladies and gentlemen.

Unless you want to be a transactional hack, spamming resumes around town and praying somebody hires one of your candidates, one day, you need to build relationships.

And the foundation for a relationship is the client meeting or sales visit.

You might use your digital brand to open the door, but the real test begins when you are sitting face to face.

And just sitting opposite the client is not enough. Even if it goes well. A client meeting needs to be carefully crafted and a structure followed. And your critical outcomes must be crystal clear and delivered before you leave.

Good recruiters do all that. But great recruiters know the key moments in a client meeting are towards the end. That is where the deal is consummated, and the plan for the future mapped out.

This is what you want before that meeting ends;

• Ask who else in the company is responsible for hiring in your niche. Get names and titles, and ask your client if you can contact those people mentioning his or her name. A good meeting leads to a second meeting.

• Ask where else the client company has offices, and who the hiring person is there. Refer these leads onto colleagues in other locations, or follow them up yourself if appropriate. A strong relationship has many touch points. Make sure your influence is deep and knitted into the business.

• Nail down your terms of business. Make sure the client understands, has agreed them and leave a copy. Big tip which I ask you to never forget. If you are going to have a fight with your prospect about fees, have that fight before you have done any work!

Cross-sell other services your company may offer (temporary, permanent, a different niche, training or HR services, something else?), and open the door for a colleague to get involved.

And then, the two big ones!

Ask for the business! You have been there 45 – 60 minutes. You have uncovered the client’s needs and explained how you can meet them. Before you leave that room, you either take a job-order (which means you have got the business) or you build the communication to the point where it’s logical and appropriate to ask the client for the next opportunity to recruit. And you get a ‘yes’, or you find out why not.

Set a plan for future communication. It may be the client has said a role may become available next week, in which case you get the clients’ agreement to contact her on Tuesday at 9 am to follow up. It may be there are no opportunities in sight, but the client has agreed to use you ‘next time’, in which case you agree to call him in 8 weeks or 12 weeks, or whatever seems reasonable. Or maybe the agreement is that if you see ‘a top quality UX designer’, you can contact the client ‘on spec’. Whatever the plan is, you must leave with permission to contact, and a defined time-frame in which to do it. That way, when you do call, you can open with “Mr. Client. Just calling you today, as you asked me to”.

Conducting a sales meeting is an art. It’s not a hard sell, and it isn’t a meandering chat over a cup of tea either. You build rapport, you ask the questions that need be asked, you prove your value – and you ask for the business and define the next steps.

But above all. Having done all the hard work, don’t wimp out of the big bang at the end. That’s where all the fun is anyway!


The Savage Truth Speaking Dates for Europe in June

Glasgow: June 1st,  ‘The Future of Recruitment

Dublin: June 2nd, ‘Recruiters‘ and ‘Owners and Managers

London: June 14th, ‘Powering Profits in Disrupted Times


About Greg Savage

Over a career spanning thirty years, Greg Savage has established himself as a global recruitment leader. Greg is a regular keynote speaker at staffing and recruitment conferences around the world.

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6 Responses to Sales meetings are like sex. The best bit is at the end.

  1. Corina Kennedy May 10, 2016 at 12:24 pm #

    Love the headline Greg, great article. Too often people leave business on the table.

  2. Alan Allebone May 10, 2016 at 1:37 pm #

    Sometimes you hit the target sometimes you don’t Greg.

  3. headhunter indonesia May 11, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

    cross selling is always the key!

  4. Salvatore May 12, 2016 at 8:08 pm #

    Great post, thanks for sharing!

  5. William White July 10, 2016 at 12:27 pm #

    Amazing how many sales people (within varied verticals) leave a meeting without an agreement on the next step.

  6. Dara Lin July 27, 2016 at 1:49 pm #

    Great headline Greg, it quickly capture my attention. You are absolutely right about that conducting sales meeting is an art. It needs a lot of effort and preparation to ensure its success. By the word preparation, reading some useful tips like this is better way of starting up.

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