Often people schedule a meeting, whether for networking or, worse, a sales presentation, without thinking through a clear goal. When I say it like that, it seems crazy, doesn’t it?
Before you schedule a meeting, give some thought to a desired outcome. Are you meeting a new contact for coffee? Great. You can still do some planning beforehand. Do you think the person is a good referral source? Perhaps you have some idea of a referral you could pass? Or maybe the contact is a potential client. Each of these subtly changes how you will approach the meeting.
But planning is most important when you are meeting with a potential client. A lot of people are taught to use some sort of script during a presentation, and I’ve had many people tell me, “I can’t make myself say these things.” It’s easy for me to understand when I read the script. Most of them are horrible. Fortunately, there’s a straightforward solution. Look at the desired outcome of the meeting. Do you want to close the sale? Introduce your product as a way of scheduling a follow up meeting, perhaps with the real decision maker? If you are in a network marketing company, perhaps the goal is to set a follow up party or meeting with a potential associate.
Once you are clear about the intended outcome of the meeting, you can create a script or an approach that will lead to that outcome. It will feel more natural and comfortable than using someone else’s script. And it will leave you flexibility to adapt to the changing needs of the meeting. Perhaps the person you thought was a prospect really isn’t, but they know someone who might be. You can smoothly shift toward a discussion of how to manage an introduction.
So do some basic planning before every meeting. You’ll get more out of them, enjoy them more and leave people thinking, “Wow, I want to meet with you again!”