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Why Setting an Agenda Increases your Close Ratio

Think back to your days as a high school or college student. If you’re a millennial, it may not be a far reach into the past. For others, we apologize for making you feel old. 🙂

On your first day of class, you are handed a syllabus that outlines everything that will be covered, and everything that is expected of you over the coming weeks. On top of that, your teacher or professor may have “put it bluntly” and strongly suggested that you follow the syllabus to a T or risk poor grades at the end of class– or worse yet, not passing the class at all. By doing these two things, your teacher or instructor set an agenda for the class with the syllabus, and established expectations for the semester with his/her suggestions about keeping to the schedule, putting in good work, and time management. As sales professionals working with prospects, you must do the same: set an agenda for the meeting/presentation, and establish expectations for what will be covered and when.

Setting an agenda and expectations accomplishes several goals for the sale, but the first and most important is that it immediately puts your prospect at ease. They now know what to expect, when they get a break from the presentation, and when the feature/service they’re most interested in will be demonstrated or discussed. This takes pressure off the prospect, and allows you more flexibility in leading the presentation. Psychologically, this step tells the prospect “Sit back, relax, and ask any questions you’d like.”

After setting an agenda, involve your prospect in the process by asking questions. For example, “How does this look to you?” Or “Is there anything you’d like to add, or see more/less of?” These check-up questions help your prospect to feel involved, and allows you to better determine where they might stand on certain features. In other words, if they want to see more of a specific feature, that may be an indication that that feature is an impact item for them that’s helping to drive the sale.

So, how does setting an agenda and expectations help your close ratio? To preface, let’s get back to our school/college analogy. When you were given the syllabus and grading expectations, you may not have been put at ease (in fact, stress levels may have shot through the roof) but you knew exactly what to anticipate and when to anticipate it. This is an incredibly effective motivator that, under the hood, leads your prospect through your sales process to the close. Below are a list of benefits of setting an agenda:

  1. It puts your prospect at ease
  2. It shows your prospect what you’ll be covering and when (a huge psychological benefit)
  3. It provides you insights into what features/services are important for your buyer
  4. It uncovers impacts that drive the sale
  5. It allows you greater flexibility in leading the sales process
  6. It allows you the opportunity to uncover deeper information that your project managers may find helpful
  7. It helps you stay on track

If you’d like to learn more about agendas, and how they can help you improve your close ratio, let us know! We can equip you with plenty of tools. If you have questions or would like to share your knowledge/experience on agendas, drop a comment below!