Wouldn’t you like to plant yourself across the desk from a prospect who’s dripping with extra cash and happens to be afflicted with exactly the problem you solve? Of course you would.
Unfortunately, most executives don’t seem to leave puddles of money in their footsteps. Plus, it’s tough to know whose pain is burning fiercely enough that they want outside help.
You can quickly discover whether a prospect is high potential or a dud by sitting down face-to-face of a few minutes. That is, if you can convince them to meet with you. How do you lock in those meetings other than offering free tickets to the Stanley Cup Finals?
Let’s back up a quick step. (Making the “beep-beep” backing up sound at this point is preferable, but not required.)
Why meet with prospects in person at all?
Telephone conversations are typically more efficient, and you crank out conversations from New Jersey to New Delhi in one day—try doing that in person!
However, in-person meetings have their place.** There’s no better medium for forging strong relationships and cementing your value in a prospect’s mind. You’re also a truckload more likely to uncover high-potential consulting opportunities during an in-person conversation.
Since face-to-face meetings are powerful, but also time-intensive…
Reserve in-person meetings for the following circumstances:
- When you’re already committed to being “in the neighborhood” and your itinerary leaves open blocks of time.
- When you can schedule at least a handful of face-to-face conversations over a couple of days in a city you don’t mind visiting.
One more caveat: I’m assuming you already know the decision-makers you want to meet, or you’ve at least been introduced by someone whom they respect. This is not an approach for making cold-call pitch meetings. Cold-calls waste everyone’s time, and pitching disinterested prospects falls flatter than these little gals:
(Not my kids, by the way.)
Booking In-Person Meetings
So, here’s the scenario: you want to sit down, face-to-face to engage in conversation with a high-potential prospect that you already know or could be introduced to easily. For instance, you’re traveling to your client’s site and want to meet the CFO. Or your trip to Toronto is perfect for connecting with executives you met when you keynoted last year’s International Curling Association conference.
The key to securing a meeting is using a super-concise email. It looks something like this:
Hi Ronald. Are you in Toronto the week of June 15th? I’m going to be passing through, and it would be a perfect time to catch up for a few minutes in person.
That’s it. You don’t have to wade into long explanations or wax prolific about benefits or promise value. If they reply that they’re in town, then follow up with an equally quick, easy-to-process email:
Outstanding! We could grab a meal (my treat) or meet for a few minutes at your office. Grab any free slot on my calendar for that week by going to <link to your calendar>.
They book a time on your calendar and “boom!” you’re halfway to landing a new consulting project. No worries about overlapping meetings or everyone wanting to join you the one night you’re chowing down on Tandoori tofu.
On the other hand, if your prospect’s reply to your initial email indicates he won’t meet with you during your visit to Hogtown**, you follow up with another short email:
No worries. When’s a good time to connect by phone for 15 minutes? Grab any free slot on my calendar by going to <link to your calendar>.
Super short. Easy to react to, respond to and move into action.
Whether or not you book the in-person meeting, you’re creating conversations. Conversations are where relationships are built, opportunities are discussed and clients are won.
How else have you booked meetings with prospects?
Text and images are © 2021 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.