Some agencies, in regards to their new business program, have a mindset that first meetings with a prospect should be solid gold and close fairly quickly.
Those agencies tend to have three things in common: they’re 1) erratic in new business strategy, 2) hire and fire new business personnel fairly often, and 3) are generally not pleased with their new business process.
This “solid gold” first meeting mindset affects how these agencies actually handle first meetings and puts them at an immediate disadvantage.
The thinking that there should be/better be an immediate opportunity automatically closes their mind to any potential.
And so at the first glimmer that there may need to be another meeting, or no immediate opportunity, that meeting is perceived as poor or a waste of time.
Why is that?
They don’t have the proper mindset going in
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
All these are realistic possibilities, but more often than not in a first meeting, you don’t know any of these things with certainty yet.
Once they’re in the meeting, they don’t listen and tend to do most of the talking
From our past survey reports, 73% of marketers say agencies talk too much about themselves in the first meeting.
And I think it’s important to make a distinction here.
When I’m talking about first meetings, I don’t mean that initial break-through, when you actually get the meeting set.
I’m talking about the first actual conversation, the discovery meeting.
I’ve written previously on a sales discovery call, versus the initial call that gets to that discovery conversation.
In this discovery call, the actual first meeting, listening is key.
Even when they don’t do all the talking, the questions they ask aren’t informed
There’s really no excuse for not doing some homework prior to that first meeting.
As we’ve talked many times, Google is your friend.
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, send out a few emails or 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.