I’ve been writing a lot about the importance of setting up meetings with prospective clients and those who can lead you to prospective clients.
But what do you actually say in such a meeting that will move things forward and lead to more valuable connections?
The first thing to remember that this is not a selling meeting, or an opportunity to make a pitch. No, the purpose of the meeting is to gain ideas, insights, resources and/or connections.
In most cases you’ll get one or two of these, rarely all of them.
Let’s say your meeting is with a good networking contact. I’m actually thinking of someone I’ll be meeting with later this week. He recently shared one of my articles with his list, so I got back with him and suggested we touch base.
This is how it might go.
R – Hi, M, great to catch up with you. Thanks so much for sharing my article with those on your list!
M – Hey, glad to do it. I thought the article was great and that my list would love it.
R – So I wanted to connect with you and let you know what I’m up to and also see if there’s any way I can help you.
M – OK, great!
R – Well, these day’s I’m focusing on group programs that I offer live on Zoom video. They are for B2B professionals who are looking for more effective ways to attract their ideal clients. A recent client in my group got a $40,000 project as a result of implementing what he’d learned in the program.
I’ve been having big breakthroughs in this program and am now looking at ways to let more people know about it. One thing that has always worked for me is giving talks and webinars on my topic: Get More Meetings – Land More Clients.
So, I know you get out there a lot more than I do. You’ve spoken at Social Media Marketing World and other places. And I’d like to know if you know of some conferences populated with B2B professionals who may be open to a presentation on that topic?
M – Hmm. Let me think. Yeah, I think I know of a few places…
So, of course, I don’t know exactly how M will respond, but I am very clear about what I’m asking for. I tell him what I’m working on right now, who my audience is, and the kind of results my clients get. The chances are good that he’ll suggest a group or two to speak to.
Now, depending on your business and current situation, you’ll focus on different asks. Here are a few examples:
1. You offer consulting services to HR managers. So you ask, “I wonder if you know someone who is an HR manager or who works with HR managers.”
2. You’re writing a book and need to interview people: “I’m looking to connect with top-level leaders who have a reputation for shifting their culture.”
3. You’ve written an industry white paper and you want some feedback from an industry expert. “Since you’re in this industry, I’d love your input on this white paper.”
4. You’re a productivity coach for medium-sized companies. “I know you work with medium-sized companies on their finances. I’m looking for introductions to those kinds of companies if their productivity is lagging.”
Yes, these are all rather generic. But if you are clear on what you are looking for, you’ll know what to ask for. Don’t be shy to ask for something directly.
And remember, once you’ve asked and they’ve given you an idea, insight, resource, or connection, then, in return, ask them what they’re looking for.
“So what are you looking for in your business right now that can help you move forward? Perhaps I know a resource or person who can make a difference for you.”
And yes, before too long, you’ll find yourself connected to an actual prospective client who you may be able to help:
“John S. suggested that we connect. I understand you’re looking for some ways to get more buy-in from your team members.”
In that initial call you want to discover if they have an issue you can help them with and if they are interested in knowing about what you do. If they are, then set up a more in-depth “Strategy Session” to explore how you can help them.
Remember, the more conversations you have, the better you’ll get at them and the more effective you’ll be at finding connections who could be great clients for you.