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.
Here are some additional steps to ensure you get your share of the pie in your next coffee talk meeting.
“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:
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.
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.
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.