Why Discovery Sales Meetings Shouldn’t Happen In-Person

Learn why in-person sales meetings are an inefficient approach for prospective clients. Here, you'll learn ways to navigate these waters more effectively.
Reading Time: 4 minutes

So, you’re in the world of sales. It’s a fast-paced industry, with a ton of moving parts, and you likely have a lot on your plate.

But the name of the game is efficiency.

That’s why it’s so important for you to streamline your day-to-day activities. More time means more sales, which is why it comes as such a surprise to me that people are so quick in setting up in-person discovery sales meetings.
Let’s take a quick look at why this approach is inefficient, with a few ideas on how to make better use of your time:

People are busy.

It’s as simple as that. That’s why various dating apps have become so appealing. Nobody wants to commit to a 2-3 hour date night without first knowing if you’re at least somewhat compatible. Thus, you exchange some text messages and feel the situation out before committing to a whole evening.

It’s the same with sales.

When you set up an in-person discovery sales meeting, how much time are you committing? Between researching potential clients, reaching out, finding the good fits, locking down a time that works for everyone, and then holding the meeting itself, it’s a whole lot of time to commit to something you’re not sure will lead to a sale.

Not to mention an even greater questions: How does that scale?
Quick answer: it doesn’t.

A basic cost benefit analysis should tell you that this is one of the least effective methods of finding and qualifying new clients. Instead, consider some other options:

Alternatives to In-Person Discovery Sales Meetings

Although the in-person discovery sales meeting has long been viewed as the conventional method of finding new clients, we’re entering into a period where people don’t want to commit too much of their time to just one idea or company without already having an idea of how it could benefit them.

That’s why your in-person sales meetings should be akin to how many approach dating. There are a ton of different ways that you can gauge someone’s interest in working with you or your firm without committing the time necessary to align everyone’s schedules.

Your first approach could just be a quick phone call. (Read our post on 5 Steps to Winning a Sales Meeting in the First 13 Minutes). Reach out to the people you think you might want to work with, and have a brief conversation with them. See if their interests align with yours, and then go from there.

If there’s interest…

Set up a time to have a coffee with them on your break. Once in-person, you’ll get a much better feel for whether or not there’s potential for a business relationship.

And if you’re not quite sure how to approach this situation, here are a few questions that might help you more easily navigate these waters:

1. What are Your Goals?

By getting a better feel for what they do, you establish whether or not this is a company you’d like to work with. You don’t need to start selling your product immediately, but you will get a better idea of whether or not they might be interested.

2. What Are You Currently Working On?

This will help you get a better feel for what their immediate needs are and whether or not it’s something that aligns with your company. It can also tell you if your product won’t be a fit for their service.

3. Who Uses Their Service, and Where are They Located?

Identify some of their clients and get a feel for who they’re already working with. Make sure that the opportunity makes sense logistically.

After discussing the few simple questions, you’ll have a better feel for whether or not it’s an opportunity that both of you would like to pursue. If you feel that it is (and the other party agrees), then next natural step in the progression is the longer, face-to-face meeting to dive more into the details.

This approach is a much more efficient way to find an acquire new customers. And much like personal relationships, you gain the added bonus of creating deeper connections with more ideal customers.


If you enjoyed this article, you may also like 5 Steps to Winning a Sales Meeting in the First 13 Minutes”

Or, if you’re looking for a more tactical way to win sales meetings, download our “10 Things You Must Do to Win a Sales Meeting” Guide below.

Download the Guide

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About Sapper Consulting

Sapper's sales prospecting team becomes a natural extension of your existing sales efforts, helping you find new leads that are a great fit for your business.

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