A couple of weeks ago I went to visit a prospective client, and met two absolutely charming senior people. I was with them for an hour, which is usually a good sign, and yet came out of it thinking: “Hmm, that didn’t go brilliantly.”
Why? Well, that morning I’d been training some (challenging, cynical but ultimately very nice) clients and had had a “robust” exchange of ideas and views with them, to say the least.
The session was well-reviewed, but it was tough. So when I got to the meeting, I didn’t feel with hindsight that I’d made the switch from training mode to business development mode. I came out of it thinking I’d talked too much, hadn’t listened enough, or asked enough of the right kind of open questions to uncover what was really of interest to them.
With this in mind, I dropped one of them a note, a) to thank them for their time but b) to say I felt I hadn’t got it right. Interestingly, I got some positive feedback - to the effect that I hadn’t done any of these things but had in fact struck up a good rapport. We’re now taking our discussions forward, with a view to working together.
My point? Sometimes how we think we’re doing isn’t quite matched by others’ perceptions – positively or negatively. It can feel like a bit of a risk in asking for feedback, but I’m glad I did. I reminded myself that getting into the right zone is really important, and so too is helping to set the tone of the meeting from the off.
And yet, I often see people who have no sense of how important this stuff is, dismissing it as unimportant, and believing that they’re really good at it in any case, when there’s a wealth of evidence to the contrary. You know the signs: phones and BBs on the table (which are fiddled with and checked constantly). No or poor eye contact, listening skills or questions. Poor body language, no smiling or attempts to put the other person at ease. A distinct lack of warmth.
It matters. It really does. People like, and buy, other people.
Give out the message that you couldn’t give a fig (or any other f-word that springs to mind) and you’ll reap what you sow.
In other words, nowt.
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about the author
Nicky Denegri is our Senior Consultant. If you would like to know more about this subject, drop her an email and we will be in touch.