… and Getting Yourself a “Yes”
You pick up the phone — to call a prospective client with whom you’ve wanted to meet for a while. Today feels like the day. You make the call, get them on the line, and ask if you can come by their office for a meeting.
They say, “No thanks.”
Once a prospective client has said “no” to your request for a meeting, it’s even more difficult to get a “yes” later. You’ve already been disqualified. Getting a “no” switched to a “yes” is like getting someone to add an item to their to-do list that they’ve already crossed off. They disqualified you. From their perspective, that was progress. Getting an initial “no” is a situation to be avoided.
How might you increase the odds of a “yes” when you make that call?
Getting a “yes” rather than a “no” to a meeting request usually requires just one thing: a connection, however loose, between you and your prospect. Establish some connection, any connection, and your request for a meeting will usually be answered affirmatively.
What do we mean by connection? Here’s a list of reasons people are more likely to say yes to your request for a meeting. (Lists are useful to spark creative thinking.) When you read the list, let your brain make a creative connection — in this case a connection to a connection you may have to your client. (These are loosely ordered, starting with the strongest connections first.)
- Someone your client knows referred you, especially if they sent an email saying so first. (This is gold.)
- You share a professional network. Someone in your company knows someone in theirs.
- You work with a well-known individual (or company or entity). For example if your clients are scientists, and the National Science Foundation is a client of yours, this is often enough of a connection to get a yes.
- You are connected to people who might be useful to them, service providers, researchers.
- You know people in common outside of work, through a club, a sport a hobby, or simple geography.
- You can execute demonstrably faster or better than your competitors, and this might matter to your prospect.
- You have new capabilities of which your prospective client is unaware, which they might be able to profit from.
Your Business Knowledge
- You offer interesting insights into your client’s business.
- You have intelligence relevant to an initiative your client is undertaking.
- You work with companies in their supply or delivery chain, (and sometimes even a company who is a competitor.)
- You have specific experience in a niche they occupy.
- You can point to specific tricky problems that you solved with your creative and innovative capacity.
- You are going to be in their neighborhood or city.
Find a connection. Once you have a connection, we’ll tell you in the next post, how to employ that connection to get a yes to your request.