What is meeting booking?
Meeting booking is a fundamental part of the sales process for any business. As digitalisation has entered the commerce scene, more salespeople are starting to downplay meeting booking as it may no longer seem very relevant and can also be seen as time-consuming in an otherwise busy day.
But the meeting between you and your potential customer, partner or new supplier is far more crucial than you might think. We all know that first impressions can make a huge difference when we meet others. This is true even if the meeting is simply for business purposes.
However, the first meeting is not just about the impression you make, but also about establishing the right foundation, creating a positive and constructive environment, and setting the right tone. All these factors help to build a strong, lasting relationship, whether you are looking for new markets, partners, producers or customers.
This briefly answers the question, what is meeting booking?
B2B meeting booking
Within B2B-trade, meeting booking is very much an important discipline. Unlike B2C trade, you automatically think more long-term when you trade with other companies. Here more than anywhere else, the focus should be on lasting relationships and lasting cooperation that ensures mutual growth.
A typical mistake with B2B meeting booking is to seek meetings with companies where your focus is "only" to land a sale. If you shift your focus to creating and maintaining close partnerships that not only drive your own success, but also the development and growth of the party you're reaching out to, you'll eventually find that your B2B meeting booking will not only be more targeted and more effective, but will also pay off more on the bottom line, as it will result in more of the sales you initially hoped for.
So make sure your dedicated B2B meeting booker is clear on your plan and budget. Whether you hire an external B2B meeting booker or use an in-house one, it's important that they are clear on the strategy upfront. It's not just about booking a meeting, but booking the right meeting.
3 good meeting booking tips
1) Plan, set expectations, define
Even before you start booking meetings, you should clarify with yourself and your colleagues what your plan is for the meeting, what your expectations are and define your goal for the meeting. It may sound obvious, but many make the mistake of simply finding potential leads, then reaching out to them, and then "taking it on the chin".
While it's true that skilled salespeople are adaptable and good at navigating even conversations and negotiations that have come out of the blue, you shouldn't take that approach when it comes to meeting booking. Preparation is key. Make sure you're sharp on the dot:
- who you reach out to
- why you are reaching out to them
- what you can offer, and not least what they get out of it
- what you expect to get out of it
- how far you are willing to stretch yourself in a possible negotiation
- what alternative solutions, if any, could be proposed.
It may sound like a long to-do list to go through before you dive into meeting booking, but you'll be well prepared and super clear on the "what" and "why".
2) Know your contacts
The definition of meeting booking is, in the vast majority of cases, reaching out to contacts you don't actually know. That is, you have not been in contact with them before. So meeting booking is mostly about how you make the right contact for the first time.
Therefore, it may seem paradoxical that you need to know your contacts in advance. But by that you mean you've done your homework on them. In the first instance, you should make sure you have selected the right target audience. This involves not only narrowing down but also qualifying, i.e. from a prepared profile you have found prospects who fit your target.
In the second step, you should then further narrow down your target audience. By curating your prospects based on relevant criteria, you will be left with the strongest bids for future customers. These criteria could be, for example:
- purchasing power/budget
3) Prioritise your time and resources
Always be efficient with your time. This applies to all commerce and all businesses. But especially when it comes to meeting booking. In fact, in meeting booking, you often find that the schedule slips. There are an incredible number of practical considerations to take into account, whether you are trying to book a physical meeting or an online one.
A typical meeting booking process will consist of many emails or calls, often before you even make contact with the right person on the other end. There may be illness, maternity leave, busy schedules or many other factors that play a part in the meeting having to be postponed or restructured.
So meeting booking isn't just about grabbing the bone, dialing the number and getting either a "yes" or "no" to a meeting. Everyone is busy, and that's especially true for other businesses. So make sure you prioritise your time. That way you avoid phone queues, failed calls, and slipping schedules. Budget for unforeseen events and set aside appropriate amounts of time and resources.
This is again why planning is so crucial. The time you spend before the actual meeting booking takes place saves you huge amounts of time and effort in the end. Indeed, good planning should not only reduce many of the technical and practical formalities - and thus make the meeting booking process itself as short and efficient as possible - it also ensures that you don't waste time on irrelevant leads.