How To Schedule More First Meetings
You can be the greatest industrial marketing professional in the world but that skill is less than significant if you can’t land that first meeting with a prospect. Before you can hope to land more first meetings with your prospects you first need a comprehensive understanding of their world.
The next step is to discard standard “old-school” appointment setting approaches and commit to a better way of approaching today’s harried prospects. Once you understand their world and are committed to trying a better way to get those critical first meetings you need to create what I call an access offer.
Follow these steps and you will quickly notice that getting first meetings can actually be easy.
1. Picture the typical prospect in your marketplace
Understand the typical prospect in your marketplace is over-worked and overwhelmed. She is expected to perform superhuman feats on a daily basis without support or complaint. She is running multiple projects simultaneously because the company which employs her has cut its staffing to the bone. She is expected to make decisions that are beyond her expertise and way out of her comfort level because she now has to do the work of at least two full-time people, one of whom is no longer employed in her company.
There are massive demands on her attention. In addition to the workload there is the daily bombardment of internal and external messaging all calling out for her time. She may be receiving 50 or more emails per day from here fellow employees. In addition there are emails from vendors vying for her attention. Even if she lets calls roll over to voicemail at some point she needs to listen to the calls and decide whether to act on them.
2. Picture the typical approach for an introductory meeting
The “old school” salesperson contacts the prospect and in effect says “Hi there, my name is Joe Smith and I’m wondering if I could drop by and show you our product information. It won’t take more than an hour.” Much to their continuing surprise the prospect will tell the salesperson that this is not an appointment they would like to set.
The reason why is pretty easy to understand.
Your prospects must jealously guard and hoard the little time they have in their schedules. They do not have time to meet with self-serving salespeople who want to schedule hour long features dumps with tedious PowerPoint presentations. In the past prospects may well have endured this but no more. First meetings are time consuming and time is an increasingly valuable commodity.
3. A better way to get that first meeting
If you aim to get more first meetings you need only remember two words, provide value. Actually, it might be more accurate to say provide value with every interaction. Before you even attempt to contact a prospect for a first meeting think long and hard about what you can offer them that will provide them value that is commensurate with their time. Think about an enticing access offer.
Some ideas are: Share best industry practices that will help them solve a pressing problem, share the results of an industry survey, or share some groundbreaking new ideas. To really tune this up offer the preceding plus a Strategy Session in which you will discuss how they might solve their biggest challenges or reach their aspirations.
As I like to say, as a matter of fact it IS all about them.