In a recent webinar with Tim Dunne, author of Never Be Closing, the focus was clearly on the initial sales meeting. If you’ve earned a “yes” to your meeting request, and you’ve been waiting for months to meet this prospect, this post is for you.

Depending on your industry, your relationship with this prospect, and the sales cycle of your product, you might have a number of different goals, but Dunne believes that one goal is universal:

“You want to walk out of that meeting having been useful to your prospect. Doing so will ensure they remember you, and meet with you again. Every meeting should end with the salesperson being useful to the client.” — TIm Dunne

To be useful, you have to dig into your prospect’s situation.

Get the tough questions answered. In order to do this, Dunne recommends asking questions that your prospect is willing to answer.

“Credibility is key here. If you have no credibility, you have no traction. No traction means no digging, and no digging means you can’t be useful in a meeting with your client.” — Tim Dunne

So how much credibility is Dune talking about? Tim Dunne recommends just enough credibility so your prospect in the meeting will answer the questions that you ask.

Dunne goes on to explain three key ways to establish credibility, including:

  1. Shared community
  2. Professional reference
  3. Expertise, experience and knowledge

How establishing credibility in a meeting pays off

During Dunne’s last month ever as a banker, he was taking his replacement, Carl, to meet some of his clients and to hand off the relationship. They were meeting with a client named David, the CFO of a big real estate company.

Carl and Tim were sitting in David’s office waiting for him to arrive, he was late. He said, “I’m sorry I’m late. I was on vacation last week, there’s a lot going on.”

Carl looked at him and said, “Where did you go on vacation?” David looked at Carl and said, “Well, we have a house a couple of hours north of here in the Michigan Lakes District.” He named a town, and Carl said, “My wife is from Michigan and we vacation in that region all the time.”

This conversation breaks out about this town, and this golf course, and this old hotel, etc.

“This conversation, which I didn’t participate in at all, was strictly Carl and David having just met each other. Carl was able to create a sense of shared community in about a minute with David.” — Tim Dunne

Was that enough credibility that David would answer the questions that Carl needed? While that depends on David, Carl was benefiting from more than one of the pathways to credibility. He created a personal connection, shared community, and had a professional reference from me. On top of that, he had a business connection because the two companies were already working together.

Carl had all three pathways to credibility at his disposal in order to have a successful meeting. Think about how you can establish credibility to ask the tough questions in your next sales meeting.

Watch the full webinar here:

Get more sales tips in the RingLead ebook, Sphere of Influence Selling: An Inside Sales Approach to Crushing Your Quota.