I’m occaisionally guilty of saying “I’d really love to pick your brain” or “When we get together I want to hear about your most pressing challenges”. I try not to make that the platform for all discussions but even the best slip up from time to time! Now we all know meetings like this can be really helpful – for us. What also tends to happen is the curse of “the two extremes”.
Extreme #1 - The seller totally surrenders the meeting to the prospect and scurries at the end to make a pitch or suggest a next step. It typically lacks context and faint pledges to email each other while jumping into cars never materialize.
Extreme #2 - On the other side of the spectrum is total domination – either pitching or questioning with little prospect engagement. These meetings feel good, but lack bite when attempting meaningful follow-up.
The best coffee talk meetings achieve the number one goal of any first meeting
– agreement to a second meeting.
So to have more productive meetings, think pie – you get half, and the prospect gets half. Also realize that your prospect wants to walk away with an asset for their time investment. This can be learning something new, a contact that can help their business, or an insight they would’ve never received without meeting you. Use this asset concept when setting the purpose and value of your next meeting.
Those of you who get caught in Extreme #1 should realize that this is your time too. Come prepared to engage the prospect in their issues or universal issues that you think they'd enjoy engaging in. For you Extreme #2 folks, work more curiosity into your conversations – think a smaller number of questions and push for clarity and intent.
Here are some additional steps to ensure you get your share of the pie in your next coffee talk meeting.
- Asses a client type category that you think your prospect falls into such as a Rental Car CFO, top producing commercial Real Estate Executive or Brand Director for large Pharma. This can help you get some fluency in the specific trends these folks encounter.
- Introductions: Try it’s nice to “see you” vs. nice to “meet you” It implies more intimacy and projects confidence.
- Check timing: ask if your contact still has the full hour that was pledged. You want to make sure you can bring your conversation to a good segue if time gets cut short.
- Ask these three “journey” questions during your meeting for light discovery (and be ready with your answers!):
- What’s been your journey? (Gets at the prospects view of their path)
- Where are you now? (Gets the prospect to divulge the current state)
- Where are you going? (Gets at goals, and potentially some dissatisfaction in the current state)
- Take notes selectively. In your notebook, draw four rectangular boxes one over another on one page. As you hear a key point, fill in the box. Remember this is a connection meeting, not a court case.
- Based on your journey question answers, offer to help in your own special way of authentic generosity.
- Context is king - if your meeting is scheduled for an hour – protect the last 10 minutes like gold. Use this time to play back and clarify key points and suggest a next meeting.
- Have one specific ask. This should be tied to what you thought the client type (prospect) could realistically help you achieve. Link the ask to the value of the current conversation and extend that to a second meeting.
- Craft a hand-written thank you as soon as you can. Bullet your playback points as a tee-up to meeting #2.
- A few days later, send an email follow-up that looks something like this:
“Hi Ellen, it was great seeing you this past Tuesday and thanks for being so generous with your time. We covered a lot of ground together but wanted to follow up on some of the things we both thought were important:
- This is the video of my Chamber talk on messaging
- A Whitepaper on what the best are doing around prospecting in wealth management
- A link to my blog post on social media that I told you about. Nice tie to your team’s challenges.
Thanks also for your help in connecting me to Steve over at TKD Securities. I know we said that we’d connect at the end of the month - here are some additional dates and times for us to reconnect on the prospecting topic. Please feel free to pick one that works or suggest another.
- June 6 – after 12p
- June 7 – all day
- June 13 – before 3pm
Thanks again, Ellen. I look forward to seeing you soon."
If no response in two weeks, send a calendar invite with the same message above around timing flexibility. This assumes that you made firm and purposeful connections in the coffee talk meeting and the next meeting was implied and agreed upon.
What are your best coffee talk tips? Send me an email at bwalton@billwaltonsalestraining or join/post your thoughts in the Client Acquisition Group on LinkedIn.