Be addressed to the MD/CEO by name PERSONALLY say who you are and where “you are coming from” indicate an understanding of the client’s situation contain an interesting opportunity.
A small point but worth considering. Make any appointment at a quarter to the hour or a quarter past – it appears that you are fitting the client into your busy schedule. This is not totally a “salesman’s gimmick” but makes it easier for both you and the prospective client.
Now write a letter confirming the appointment to meet, even as requested just for a few minutes, and in that letter touch positively on an important issue that came up in the conversation e.g.
…and I look forward to hearing more about your IT issue as you described it”
Post that off straight away.
I am a firm believer in the collective potential of the BBB. It is simply not possible to walk into a client’s office and pretend that you can deal with any problem. Listen intently and make notes but if you spot an opportunity for an accountant, marketer or IT expert etc. and those skills are not in your “bag” then mark it clearly. Clients are much more impressed by good listeners than by talkers so gather as much information as you can. I will not repeat here the open question principle but it is paramount in both the initial telephone conversation and in the first meeting.
Let me give you another anecdote from some years ago. I was having a business lunch in Tokyo with a potential new client for a major financial arrangement and I was host. It was not long through the main course when I found that my plate was nearly empty and his was hardly touched. He had been answering every question in detail and providing me with a very complete picture of his situation and requirements. I was embarrassed and said, “I’m sorry I have been stopping you eating” His reply was “No, not at all you’re a very good listener and you have been able to eat whilst I have been gabbling away. Thank you for listening so patiently.”
So if in a business lunch you find that your guest is eating his meal faster than you then you are probably doing too much talking and not enough listening!
Try to find a group of local consultants with differing backgrounds such that you have a complete or nearly complete set of skills and co-ordinate your work. You will find it more enjoyable, more profitable and less lonely.
Good Luck – and make sure that you enjoy this weekly 90 minute session. The rewards are enormous.
- Find the companies
- Write the letter
- Make the call
- Arrange the meeting
- Confirm the meeting
- Enjoy the meeting
Grab your letters here