How to bring the ‘wall’ down.
The Informal Meeting
In today’s business world, it can be increasingly difficult to reach that special person that can make or break a deal. Voice mail and email have made it so tough to get to someone that does not know anything about you or your business—and easy for them to cast you away. The target you are trying to reach can hide behind the phone recording or delete emails with the tap of a finger.
And why shouldn’t they? People (like you and me) are inundated with so much meaningless nonsense (sales calls from unknown numbers and emails from desperate Nigerian Prince’s looking for a partner to hold $2 million for them). They should be selective about what they turn their attention to. It is tough to reach that special person that can make or break your business future and it isn’t getting any easier. It’s difficult to get through the wall.
So, what to do?
I find that the ‘Informal Meeting’ is most effective in this day and time of formality.
What do I mean by “Informal Meeting?”
My definition of an informal meeting is a gathering with your client(s) away from the office or work setting. It could be lunch, golf, racquetball, happy hour, a ball game, a trip to the racetrack, whatever. A chance to meet with your desired client away from the office and work setting is far more effective than getting a meeting when the client is watching his or her watch the entire time.
When you meet a business client away from business, the wall comes down and you are talking to a prospective business client that is likely to have an open ear and better yet, you might get to know them as a real person (and not just someone who can increase your sales commission) a little better.
Nothing beats a personal relationship with a business client. That’s called killing two birds with one stone. You get a client and a friend. It doesn’t happen often but it does happen and can happen by simply doing some research or being attentive to your prospective client’s hobbies. A quick Google search on this individual will likely show Facebook photos of your prospect on the golf course or at the football stadium decked out in their favorite team’s apparel. I’m not encouraging you to stalk your prospects but just do some due diligence on them.
Oftentimes, I reflect back on my previous career as a mortgage originator and wish that I had done a better job at this.
I tried so hard to build my book of business that the last thing I wanted to do by 6 or 7 p.m. was see a business client. I was wrong. I missed an opportunity to build life relationships with people that played a role in my success. It is ironic that when I see them now, the builders and realtors that were so loyal to me, it is like running into a lost cousin. If I had made more of an honest and considerate way to connect with these wonderful people, I would have found yet another way to blur the lines between work and relaxation.
A successful business career is a wonderful thing—ALMOST as good as a friend.