OK, the main goal of your first new business meeting is actually getting a second meeting, but that’s not what I’m thinking about as I write this post.
Some agencies, regardless of how they’re driving their new business program, feel like the first new business meeting with a prospect should be solid gold and close fairly quickly.
Those agencies tend to be erratic in new business strategy, hire and fire new business personnel fairly often, and are generally not pleased with their new business process.
In many cases, all the above factors can be traced directly to how agencies handle the first new business meeting.
A few reasons why those initial meetings are perceived as poor:
They Don’t Have The Right Mindset
Without a doubt, you need to have standards for any given meeting, but setting those standards impossibly high leads to these types of comments:
-There was nothing there
-They didn’t get us
-They weren’t the perfect client
-It was only a project
As to the first three, all are possible, but more often than not in a first new business meeting, you don’t know any of these things with certainty yet. And as to the fourth, project work continues to increase, make sure you don’t turn that opportunity down without some level of exploration.
They Don’t Listen and do Most of the Talking
The Questions They Ask Aren’t Informed
For example, asking anything that can easily be found via a Google, LinkedIn, or site search.
Make your questions count-it’s too easy today to find one or two nuggets of value through a simple online search.
They Create a Few Pieces of Content, Make a Few Calls and Then Decide it’s Not Working
Or have one meeting that didn’t go their way and think “I’m not cut out to do this.”
That may be true, in which case you shouldn’t be the one handling that activity, but because agency personnel don’t typically have the new business chromosome (and may not ever-that’s OK), they are far too hard on themselves.
#4 is key-you absolutely must manage your expectations in those first meetings. Sure, there will be first meetings that truly aren’t the right fit, for a number of reasons, but don’t sabotage them with a flawed mindset before they even occur.