How to Sell in 30 Minutes or Less

Two womens talking during a sales appointment

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Getting a sales appointment isn't easy, especially if you're selling B2B. Everyone's too busy to spend a lot of time listening to you sell to them. So it will be rare for you to be willing to get someone to commit to longer than a 30-minute appointment for your initial meeting. Here's how you can make the most of your 30 minutes.

Be Early

You definitely don't want to be late when your time is already limited. Not only does it show a lack of respect for your prospect, but he's unlikely to give you extra time at the end of the meeting if you missed the first few minutes. Plan your arrival for at least 10 to 15 minutes before the meeting is scheduled to begin. That way, if you run into heavy traffic or other delays you'll still be on time instead of late.

Write Up an Agenda in Advance

When you have plenty of time to play with, you can afford to fly by the seat of your pants – but when your time is strictly limited, you need to plan to make the most out of every moment. Keep your agenda simple for this first meeting; your goal will probably be to get the prospect interested enough to schedule a longer meeting rather than trying to close him during the first appointment.

Practice Your Presentation

To be sure that you can fit everything into a 30-minute window, run through the presentation you intend to give at least two or three times. If you can, practice in front of an audience, or tape record yourself and then listen to the recording. You want to get everything done within your time limit without sounding rushed. If you have a 30-minute appointment, you should actually aim for no more than 15 to 20 minutes of presenting. The first five minutes or so of your appointment will be taken up with exchanging greetings, and briefly laying out your agenda to the prospect.

The last few minutes will be dedicated to answering questions, resolving objections, and setting a new appointment.

Prioritize Your Agenda

If the prospect is running late or has more questions than you expected, you may not get your full 30 minutes. Plan to bring up the most important points first, so that if you do get shorted on time you will at least have made the biggest impact possible. And if the prospect does need to cut you short for some reason, be gracious about it. After all, it's the perfect excuse to motivate the prospect into giving you another appointment slot later.

Be Memorable

Don't subject your prospect to 30 minutes of boredom. That's not exactly the feeling that you want them to take away from your meeting. One of the best ways to keep things interesting is by making your presentation as interactive as possible. If your prospect is involved with your presentation rather than just sitting there listening, he's a lot less likely to get bored. Ask questions and try to keep your presentation more like a dialogue than a monologue. If you can, bring something like a floor model or a sample that your prospect can touch and interact with.

Add Value

Ideally, you want your prospect to walk away feeling like he's gained something by giving you this meeting. Make a helpful suggestion, hand over a copy of an article that's useful for the prospect, or simply congratulate him on recent success (a promotion, a new product launch, etc.). The more value you can bring to the initial appointment, the better the prospect will feel about scheduling another one.