Business people are busy. When you sit in front of a new prospective customer or client for the first time, you should have a set of potential outcomes that move the process and the relationship forward. One thing you’d like to be able to judge is the success of your meeting. To paraphrase Rob Fitz, author of The Mom Test, a meeting that “went well” is probably a failure. You can be sure your client has a potential outcome that will keep the meeting from being a failure from their perspective: disqualifying you.
Disqualifying you as someone they will ever talk to again is a useful outcome. From now on, they won’t waste any time fielding your calls or answering your emails.
(By the way, for you, disqualifying them as a potential client is also useful: in order to disqualify them, you have to learn something.)
If you disqualify each other for appropriate reasons, it may not be the outcome you wanted, but it’s progress. But if you get disqualified because you didn’t prepare, asked the wrong questions, or didn’t listen, you just used up your get-out-of-jail-free card, that one first meeting when people are willing to meet with you without knowing if you are useful.
The first face-to-face meeting is the most important moment in the sales process. It’s useful to behave like it is. Don’t waste that chance. Enter that first meeting with a plan.