While you may not be saving the world from an impending, irreparable disaster, trying to land your next big meeting can often feel like it. From the wise words of Richard Branson “Succeeding in business is all about making connections” but how do we make those connections and turn them into sales or prosperous working relationships?
While some people have that uncanny knack of making ‘anything’ happen; all they have to do is step outside and land a day full of productive and lucrative meetings, for the rest of us, it’s about knowing who, what, when, where and why to get that next big meeting or opportunity.
You never want to hear the words “Can you just send through information” or “We’re too busy at the moment, can you call back later.” Here’s what we’ve learnt and our top tips to landing that all important next big meeting:
START WITH A HITLIST
We all have an idea or wish list of who we want to work with, write it down no matter how big or small. Writing down a list of potential clients will not only help set structure but you’ll be able to clearly track the steps you’ve taken and where you’re at with each prospect.
Needless to say, researching your hitlist, including who the appropriate contact is is key. Arm yourself with general knowledge about the business, what they offer and how you can offer value.
MAKE A CONNECTION
Often something simple like connecting on LinkedIn is a great starting point. From there, you can make contact, introduce yourself and what you can do for them.
Make sure you give them a reason to come back to you. Every minute of time is treasured so you must convince them that meeting with you is worthy of their time.
We’re not talking about home addresses or marriage status here but meaningful meetings often come down to building a great rapport, not about the hard sell. If you’re cold calling or sending an introductory email, make sure it’s conversational as well as informational.
OFFER VALUE & FIND THE ANGLE
The old saying “What’s in it for me?” springs to mind here. Why do you want to meet with them? What would they get out of working with you? Make sure you find the angle. The gap in the market and highlight how hiring, working with and collaborating with you will help them achieve their goals.
It’s not about you, it’s all about them.
How quick is too quick? How long is too long? It can be quite the balancing act to know how to grab attention if your calls aren’t being returned or they’re not responding to your beautifully crafted introductory email. It can be a lot of trial and error and seeing what works for the specific person you’re trying to connect with. If you’re not getting to speak with them on the phone, maybe email would be better and vice versa.
GET IN FRONT OF THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Stating the obvious here but you need to get in front of the decision maker. The one that says that one crucial word ‘Yes.’ There’s nothing worse than doing all the legwork, the schmoozing, the meetings, the countless amount of follow up only to find you’re not dealing with the one who’s actually authorised to sign on the dotted line.
We had a perfect case where we were dealing with who we thought was the decision maker of a large conglomerate, only to discover we wasted 2 face-to-face meetings, several phone calls and a comprehensive quote only to find out they hadn’t sought the necessary approvals to outsource. Annoying.
Sometimes, however, you have to bide your time and work your way through the ‘gatekeepers’ to get to the decision makers. Often, it’s about getting your proverbial foot in the door in order to make that important introduction or meeting.
Our last crucial piece of advice is persistence. One of our favourite sayings is ‘Is that a hard no?’ You may have reached out to that person who’s had a bad day or they’re not in a position to say yes at that time, so persist. You just never know.
We’ve got many a story where, for whatever reason, a prospective client said no but through persistence, keeping in contact with them and finding that all important angle, we ended up working long term with them.