Mastering The First Meeting

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Lisa Thal

I love this time of year. It’s Masters Week in Golf, where the top players are looking to win one of the most prestigious golf tournaments and a chance to slip into the Green Jacket.

As most of you are aware, I am a major sports fan. I grew up playing soccer, basketball, and softball. As I entered the business world, I began to play golf. It was a significant advantage in business to play. You had the opportunity to spend four-plus hours with a prospective or current client building a relationship.

I learned the game playing with my brothers. In golf, you have a handicap that is a numerical measure of a golfer’s potential. Better players are those with the lowest handicaps, and mine is currently 12. I want to get in the single digits; 9 is my first goal. So you may be wondering why I am sharing a story about my golf game.

For me to get better, I needed to rethink my approach if I wanted to play better. Golf is a game of inches. There were several factors I needed to consider. My first thought was to hire a golf coach to learn to perfect my swing and then practice what I learned on the course. So off I went to Golf Tec, and Ashley videotaped my swing to see our starting point. In golf, there are many opportunities where I can improve. My tee shot, in the fairway and putting on the green. So we started with me learning the mechanics of a golf swing. So, I made adjustments with my swing. We practiced indoors for several weeks until the weather improved me to play outside.

So off I went to play to try the new swing. I was mentally thinking about all the shifts in my swing. I hit a few good shots, and others looked like I never played golf. The couple I was playing with said you might want to get your money back. You were a great golfer. Not sure why you took lessons. I laughed and said it’s a process, and I am sticking with it. It would have been easy for me to revert to what I knew and play okay. But my goal is to improve.

I started thinking about how we could apply the same principle in our business.

What can you do to Rethink Your Approach?

Perhaps when setting up that first meeting with your prospect. Are you having success with your current approach? Is there an opportunity to Rethink your approach? According to Zoom Info, only 2% of cold calls result in a meeting! It takes, on average, eight attempts today to connect with a prospect.

Let’s Rethink about the Who, Why, When, and How!

It starts with the Who – Are you targeting the proper accounts and the right decision-makers? Review your list of target accounts to identify that are calling on the person who can say yes. In most cases, 25% of your targets are not a good fit.

Why – this is important. Why should that decision-maker meet with you? We have to communicate why we are more valuable to them than their current vendor! What is your Valid Business Reason for them to make time for that first Conversation? Keep in mind on average, only 1% of companies are in the market today for your product or services.

Is it time to rethink your approach?

It’s called Give to Get! You offer something of value, so the prospect gives you the opportunity to a conversation or first meeting.

Examples of something valuable to share:
How trends are impacting their business ( Consumer behaviors or Local market conditions)
Industry benchmark reports
Insights on their target consumers’ desires, wants, or habits that have changed.
If your in marketing, a creative concept to connect to their consumers. Help them tell their story more effectively.

Rethink your approach to being a Viable Alternative to their current vendor
I can imagine that most of us have made new calls and heard the following,” We are not interested right now; we are happy with what we are doing.” Let’s face it. Most people are satisfied with their current vendor. So if you don’t have something that can impact their business, it will be challenging to get the meeting. But how do you position yourself to become an option?

Caryn Kopp – CEO of Kopp Consulting, helps companies get in the door using this strategy. Answer these three simple sentences.
Everybody can, and you fill in the blank, but not everyone can, and you fill in the blank, for example, and you fill in the blank.

An example of what Caryn’s company says: “Anybody can say they can get you some meetings, but not everybody can say they have a 20-year history of getting executive-level meetings to discuss big engagements on behalf of their clients. For example, one of our clients had 20 meetings in 18 weeks and closed a sale in the fourth quarter, which is unheard of in their industry; that’s what we can do.”

Your message will matter when calling on new accounts. You have the opportunity to Rethink your approach and implement a proven process that Caryn designed to earn that first Conversation.

When – The timing of when you reach out to your prospects is vital. Wednesday and Thursdays are proven to be the best days to connect on the phone. Plus, a bonus is that the hours between 4 pm-5 pm are the best times to create engagement. Depending on your industry, the times could vary. Think like the customer and rethink when would be the best opportunity to connecting with them.

How – And there is one final thought on how you will do it. Perfect your message first! Be consistent and persistent! Your energy and enthusiasm will be the difference to you getting the prospect to say yes!

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