First Contact: The Initial Meeting
If you want to be a successful Rainmaker you need to be good at this, no matter the mood or style of the person you are meeting. It is a “getting to know you” half hour, or an hour if it goes swimmingly. This is the first time you have met so at this stage you are unlikely to close a sale, though you might if you get on like a house on fire: We all get lucky once in a while. Getting in synch with your prospect by gaining rapport, balancing talking and listening, knowing when to push on from small talk to business and being authentically charming are all in play here.
- Small talk; scene setting, breaking the ice, disclosure, listening and empathy
- Listen & learn; questioning, exploring, understanding and not selling
- Show & tell; making suggestions, influencing the outcome, delivering a compelling elevator pitch, leaving enough silence to get a yes
- Advance; asking for what you want, knowing what good looks like, getting to the next stage, agreeing action
HOW WE DO IT
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The Client Account MeetingThe Client Account Meeting
Everyone has these, and it is easy for them to be polite and perfunctory and, dare we say, a waste of everyone’s time. At one level this is simply a “how are you” chat about keeping things ticking along, but approached in the right way possibilities emerge. Key here is the listen and learn stage, picking up subtle clues that allow you valuable insight and, eventually, the opportunity to suggest what you can do next. Or even better, the suggested advance comes from the other party! Now that’s always nice, very nice.
The Challenging MeetingThe Challenging Meeting
Nobody is perfect and at some point there is a meeting where you are told just that. A point of clarification is needed, they are unhappy with aspects of your pricing, the project did not go as planned. Anticipating what you think will happen beforehand, having fall-back positions when it all gets fraught, and dealing with your own and others’ behaviours are key aspects here. It is empowering effecting a win/win outcome to a difficult situation, even if the win does not give you everything you hoped for (reality check: it rarely does).
The Come in and Pitch MeetingThe Come in and Pitch Meeting
At this meeting there is an opportunity to close, when you have been asked in to deal with a specific enquiry. You might still do plenty of context or small talk or you might not; there may or may not be much preamble before getting down to nitty and gritty. You have to be able to pitch your ideas in the first few minutes if asked, or engage, listen and empathise for as long as it takes.