Getting to meet with a new prospect

friday, 19 october of 2012

Getting to meet with a new prospect

by Linda Julian

"I want your work" doesn't mean that a new prospect will automatically fit you into their schedule.

If you have a high enough profile and big reputation, those down the pecking order may be flattered that you want to meet. However, those further up the decision-making tree are mostly far too busy to allocate precious time to you just because you think it's a good idea.

Neither is "I want to learn about your business" sufficient reason to agree to your request for a meeting. Your purpose is transparent: to ask a prospect to spend their already pressured time educating you about their business, you'd best offer some solid reasons that this would be a worthwhile investment for them.

"We're a great and successful professional firm" doesn't quality as a valid reason and is unlikely to be sufficient incentive for a prospective client to meet with you.

"Let me take you to lunch" coming from a near stranger is mildly worrying -- what are the chances of a good prospective client being so hungry, lunch-deprived, or keen for a free meal that this one will work ?

If you want to get together with a new prospect, arm yourself with at least three solid business reasons they should allocate time before you make the initial approach.

Solid business reasons are not:

  • coincidences such as you both attending the same conference some time back

  • extravagant claims like "we can handle every type of matter"

  • negative assertions about their current professional provider

  • argumentative comments like "you must be really unhappy with your current firm"

  • opening lines like "you're paying way too much now" which show disrespect.

The best business reasons focus on:

  • the value proposition you offer the prospective client

  • specific value you have created for other similar clients

  • important differences the prospective client will notice in working with you and your firm.

Approach a new prospect:

  • with warm courtesy and authenticity

  • on a peer-to-peer basis -- neither arrogant nor obsequious

  • appreciating that their time is valuable and never taking it for granted

  • respectful of their current choices of professional advisers

  • with a series of specific business reasons which communicate clearly the benefits they can expect from investing precious time with you.

Getting to meet with a new prospect is not about what you want from them -- it should be deeply imbued with what's in it for them. And, if you haven't quite figured that out yet, work out three solid business reasons before you make your call.


© Trey Ryder

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