Don’t Go To Meetings
Let me make it perfectly clear that if you’re going to a meeting to pitch, then this job better be worth it. I often talk about when I first started my business with bills to pay and a sick mother. It was a simple fact that I could not afford to travel to lots of different meetings. If I was meeting a client for coffee, I would have to walk into town because I couldn’t afford both our coffees and the bus fair.
The travel and time costs of attending a physical face to face meeting quickly add up, and although I’m a big believer in doing things face to face, don’t agree to a meet up lightly.
There are more than a few meetings I’ve come away with where I’ve just been like “wow, that guy was impressive” turning it on for a meeting is everything and being likable is key. I’ve seen the opposite too where someone had a better service, but didn’t get the gig because it didn’t click.
Plan Of Action
It’s important to remember that a pitch meeting isn’t an interview. Go in with a clear strategy and exit plan. Most of the advice I gave for taking business calls is also true of meetings. It’s also important to be flexible with what you are selling. Until you have something in writing I would never believe scope and even then there’s an element of change that will often happen. When scope gets expanded during a project it can end up taking much more of your time and profit then you expected.
Sell Sales Salesy
Don’t come off too strong in a business meeting. I think clients can genuinely smell desperation, so try and keep calm. You should be spending 70% of your time listening and not talking here.
Do more than just doing your research, show your knowledge and insight by offering suggestions and tips that might be able to help them out, even if they aren’t directly related to the meeting or the person has no control over that aspect. This creates value for yourself and gives them more reasons to get back in touch with you.
The main reasons to get in front of someone are to fully understand the brief, leave with no doubts what are expected in the job, to build trust. Oh and don’t forget, you actually have to ask for the job in the first place.