Let's talk business for real. The hardest thing in business is getting your foot in the door with the right people. Not everyone starts a business with a pocket full of contacts who are willing to help, buy or network. So, how is this done? Well, like many things- it is an art that has to be practiced. I have some key pointers to help you get started to obtaining a meeting with almost anyone!
First you need to know what NOT to do. Don't ever send an email or make a call and ask to have coffee. Coffee is code for 'I'm going to pick your brain, steal some ideas, and take a shortcut to figuring this all out myself...oh, and your help is only worth the price of a cup of coffee.'
What you want to do is start with having something to offer. Business owners and decisions makers can buy their own coffee without having to listen to an hour long pitch or how-to session to get it. But business owners and decision makers are curious by nature. They are always looking for ways to improve and the next big thing. Use your knowledge as a trade off. Make a call, or send an email, stating you have something that he or she can learn from. Explain it isn't a pitch. Explain you have been using this tactic (remember to find your angle) and you just thought he or she could benefit from it. State you're having a casual lunch at this place on this time and he or she is free to join you- no RSVP needed.
Your next step is to show up to the pressure free lunch. You have an 85% chance the other person will show to. If he or she doesn't, don't worry. Send a follow up email or call and talk with them over the phone. If they do show-you're in. Have a nice lunch. Don't be pitching or over bearing and don't ask him or her any questions. Just share our angle. But Twyla, I need something from this person! I know what you're thinking. Ignore your need on the first meeting. Present your value and your insight. Why? Well, the person on the receiving end has now taken up YOUR time gaining something from you. He and she is put into a position where they have to now respond to your follow up meeting request.... and guess where that is going.
Getting a meeting with anyone is easy when you're able to help him or her. Getting a meeting when you need the help... well that isn't so easy. So, if you flip the tables and put the other party into a position where they owe you, well that meeting is a piece of cake!
Until next time,