Insights from the field
Coffee talk meetings are a great way to meet potential prospects. There’s typically no obligation on anyone’s part and coffee most often happens in comfortable places. Done well, coffee talk meetings can pave the way to a fruitful relationship. Unfortunately too many business developers are not thinking “pie”.
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.
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.
A few years ago we conducted a research study into the barriers to effective prospecting. The usual suspects revealed their heads as they always do – “no time”, “I don't want to appear too salesy”, “most of my business comes from referral”. While these may be true on occasion, two interesting nuggets also came from this study on “barriers”:
Here are some tips on messaging that have been helping our clients connect a little faster:
Seek Client Input
The best companies know what their customers value in their service, and figure out how to deliver on that consistently. For new prospects, more needs to be said around why customers and clients work with you and the impact you’re having. Prospects want to “see themselves” in the relationship with a provider. Let them know why they might be interested and what it could look like.
So much of what you are selling is not the nuts and bolts of your solution, but the comfort that it’s the right time and investment for it. Customers hate to be wrong with their limited capital. Sell what’s right with stories of where you’ve been successful before. Ask a prospect to describe their ideal scene and continue to align your message with that.
Make it part of who YOU are (Within the realm of compliance of course)
Great messaging comes when you’re not thinking about it. For sellers, it’s about finding a connection to a business problem for a certain client or customer type and aligning your solution to that. Messaging also supports the reason for your solutions’ existence (the why), and the impact that it’s having. Don’t forget to explain the special process, or technology that enables that value.
Client Type focus vs. Niche
A relevant and timely message speaks to a client type, the problems or aspirations they share, and relevant solutions that align. When building a conversation, start with a conversation starter that primes a path for how you help customers, the problems you solve, the impact you’re having and that a special process or technique is behind it.
Download our messaging best practices tip sheet below:
Bill Walton Sales Training has over 60 years of collective Fortune 500 company experience in Sales, Sales Training and Field Sales Management. Our specialty is preparing individuals and organizations to present their value propositions in a way that results in higher close ratios. Our team are un-blurring the lines of differentiation between their client's fiercest competitors.