This weeks article is short and sweet. I’ve been teaching this to consultants for years, now it’s time to share it here.
Here’s a four step process that can dramatically increases results from client meetings.
Step 1. Decide your outcomes in advance.
At times I hear consultants talk about their frustrations with ‘interesting meetings’ that don’t bring any work. This is partly because they start with generally vague outcomes.
Marketing meetings. If it’s a discovery session, where you’re getting to know one another, you may feel the outcome is to build a relationship. It is, but the ultimate outcome is still to find a project you can work on together. And there are sub-outcomes too, what might those be for you?
Sales meetings. These are where you’ve already identified the project. Your ultimate outcome is to define the project and close the sale. Again there are sub-outcomes for sales meetings, what might those be for you?
Don’t wing it. Know what you want.
Step 2. Use requests for action.
You’ll improve results when you ask for things to happen. One of the mistakes consultants make is leaving this until the end of the meeting. When you’re clear what outcomes you want from the meeting it’s easier to ask. Do you want referrals? Do you want access to the decision maker? Do you want a contract, a testimonial, feedback?
Don’t be vague. You know what you want, ask for it.
Step 3. Offer something of value.
This is where you agree that you’ll do something for the client. Perhaps its as simple as sending them a questionnaire. Or perhaps it’s brokering an introduction with someone else in the industry.
The point is to offer to do something for the client which is in their interest.
Step 4. Follow through.
You know your outcome and you’ve sorted out actions. The last part of the process is to follow up and make sure the actions are taken.
The simplest way to do this is to send the client a brief email confirming ‘the mini-plan’ you’ve agreed together.
This four part process is easy and professional. Try it on for size and you’ll notice a shift in the quality of your meetings, and the results you get.
Let me know how it goes. As always thanks for reading and sharing: