Matt Handal and the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) made an offer for an event yesterday that proved irresistible. His presentation: “How to Get Meetings with the Most Unreachable Clients” suggested a sequence of four emails (of which three repeat the core message of the first) would get you in the door for a business development meeting with the most important and hard-to-reach decision-makers you could find.
And indeed, he delivered on the promise — and I believe if you follow his advice and try the techniques on at least 10 clients, you will discover it works.
He provides wording for initial email and suggests ways you can discover the addresses of the people you are seeking. But the secret sauce isn’t so secret and it is the hardest mission to achieve — the “hook” which requires you to have something of real value to deliver to the potential client at that first 15-minute meeting.
Here we run into the big challenge of most business development initiatives, because you cannot really go in cold; that is, you won’t get far thinking a senior decision-maker will be interested in hearing any sort of pitch for your product or service.
Handal suggests the three hooks can be:
1. useful information about what someone just like them did on a similar project;
2. Useful information about how they can avoid losing; or
3. Some new, exclusive information you can provide them.
In other words, even though you don’t know much about the potential client, you have to know enough to be able to credibly develop the customized approach.
Once you get that meeting — and indeed you have to plan it for 15 minutes — you need deliver on your hook, and then take the opportunity to learn about the key issues/challenges affecting the prospect, so you can move forward with a more thoughtful and customized proposal/presentation.
In other words, this process is hardly quick, or easy, unless of course you have the natural connection to justify the process — or you’ve done enough research to truly understand the dynamics and client needs.
I’ll share some more on this topic tomorrow.