It is no mystery that in person meetings have a much higher conversion rate to sales than phone, social media, or even direct mail and email marketing. While there is no doubt that prospecting is necessary, many of our marketing efforts still exist purely for the sake of getting a face to face appointment with a decision maker. We think to ourselves, “If I can just bump into the right person at a trade show, get past the gatekeeper on a call, or use humor, wit, or appeal to lead to a conversation, then I can seal the deal. Our product sells itself!” But what happens when you find yourself face to face with a potential big customer, their hurried eyes and unimpressed brow staring down at you?
Unfortunately, we see too many companies work tirelessly to get appointments and then realize we are unprepared at the moment of truth. When the time comes to capitalize, the last thing you want is to blow it. Take a look at these 3 pointers for prepping for the (often unexpected) minutes that matter.
Do your homework – Do they play Cello?
If you have an appointment scheduled, don’t get caught in the elevator on the way home wondering what you wished you would have thought of. Does this company distribute? What are their territories? What are their target price points and audiences? Their history, values, culture? Where are they weak and where are they strong? Has your client been featured anywhere publicly? Know that, talk about it, connect how their recent award relates to your product. Did the person you are meeting with play Cello in high school, or post videos on Facebook of their favorite concert orchestras? Bring a them Yo-Yo Ma concert ticket as a gift. Make it pointed towards the company and personal towards the person. Become a super connector.
Give stuff away for free – No, not samples. Give away your friends.
You hear us, not samples. The trashcan is full enough. Give away resources, connections, input. Give something away that can have direct positive impact on the company you are meeting with. Regardless of your involvement with the benefit, choose to connect. In this connection driven economy, relationships are the new currency. Want to woo a potential client? Do not give them free garden seed or a miniature replica of your garden tools, give them a free introduction to the founder of Google, to someone who can make their life better, more interesting, more full, and more rich. Free gardening samples connect them to the ground, but free introductions to the men and women who can make a difference to their company, those are the free things that are priceless.
Be ready at all times to keep me hungry.
Not every face to face meeting will be scheduled. If you find yourself in front of someone who can make waves in your world, be ready. Many random run in’s turn into an in-office meeting if you are prepared to connect. But, forget selling me your product in 30 seconds. We can talk about the reasons that what you are selling is unique and how it benefits me and my business later. Right now, in the line at Starbucks, establish a genuine connection, and make them hunger for more of what you have to offer, personally and professionally. Build a starting block, not a finish line, and don’t let the busyness of the day-to-day grind cloud the fact that connections are all around you. And don’t forget to follow up properly, too!