Meetings That Matter

How to get meetings that bring value, close the deal and build repeat customers

Meetings That Matter

Whether you’re pitching a product, offering a service or raising capital, getting in front of decision makers is key. Craft meetings that matter for others. Meetings that bring value will also bring better results. One big game-changer and some key actions before and after can help you get, keep and make the most of meetings to increase your impact and maximize results.

The Big Game-changer

When you shift your perspective from selling something to a customer to offering a solution to a person, some magic happens. Developing a ‘long view’ in your business (translate that as repeat business over time) means a relational approach. When you know your audience and understand what they value you can hone in on offering the view of your product or service that provides a unique solution for that person.

This approach will help you identify your best audience and get meetings with the person who will not only be interested in what you have to offer but is more likely to be a champion with other decision makers. Ask these person-centered questions when prioritizing your contacts or leads.

  1. Who does my product make a difference for?
  2. What are his/her pain points?
  3. How does my product bring a solution?
  4. What success indicators will this person experience?

Get the meeting

Now that you have the real person in mind, you should approach each step of getting, keeping and follow-up to the meeting with a personalized approach. View each lead as an opportunity to establish and grow a relationship. If you don’t know your lead personally, try to find a mutual contact (via LinkedIn or other professional networks) to provide a ‘warm introduction’ via email.

Whether using a ‘warm intro’ as a springboard or sending a cold contact, your email should be personalized and specific. Crafting a concise, engaging contact email should be similar to your elevator pitch. Consider these elements when crafting your contact email.

  • Start with an engaging subject line
  • Reference how you know the person (through mutual acquaintances, by reputation, etc.)
  • State a known pain point or need for this person
  • Briefly note how your product or service offers a solution
  • Explain the reason for your contact
  • Ask for 15-30 minutes, to be scheduled within a specific time period, to share more information

For example:

Dear Jane, I was impressed by your keynote at the leadership meeting last week. The industry needs that you outlined really align with what I’m seeing in other clients’ businesses.

You mentioned that finding skilled employee candidates is a high cost for your company. My company’s Ideal Candidate software can take the pain out of the process for you and save you money.

I’d like to share more about how this tool can save you time and money. May I schedule 20 minutes to meet with you in the coming week?

Hopefully, Jane or her admin, will respond to schedule the meeting. If not, be consistent with follow-up contact. Subsequent email contact should be different, equally clear and offer new information or value.

Remember, Jane (and most decision-makers you will contact) is likely busy and even if she’s interested may not prioritize a response to a sales contact. Most sources consider seven to 12 contacts the average range for making a customer connection. Don’t give up too soon.

Keep the meeting

Scheduling the meeting is only the first step. A contact routine to follow up prior to the meeting date will reduce reschedules and cancellations. Aim to create a heightened sense of anticipation for the meeting.

  • Confirmation email and information; send an email of thanks and confirmation of the meeting. Use this opportunity to reiterate the objective of the meeting (saving Jane time and money). You may also include a link to some additional information or a concise attachment that supports the value proposition you mentioned.
  • Establish rapport; create a relationship with the admin or support staff
  • Send a note every 5-7 days if the meeting is scheduled farther than a week away.
  • Send a note 24-48 hours ahead that you’re looking forward to the meeting. A personal note to the admin can be helpful to confirm details like parking etc.

Follow up

Be sure to follow up with meeting attendees promptly and at least within 24 hours of meeting. Provide any agreed upon information, resources and keep your product or service close at hand and available to keep your new (or future) customer engaged. Follow-up emails are similar to the initial contact but should reflect the outcome of the meeting and reinforce next steps.

  • Remember to start with the engaging subject line
  • Be concise and direct – get to the point
  • Revisit the person’s pain point
  • Cite how your offering can relieve that pain
  • Reiterate or establish clear next steps

And what if your meeting resulted in a ‘not now’ or a ‘no?’ Decision-making is an emotional process and most people say no before they say yes. Consider options for thoughtful, value-added follow-ups with your priority leads. If the response was 'not now,' you want to be top of mind when they’re ready to say yes.

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