Guys, if you are striking out in your attempts to take fine prospective clients from the first meeting to the signed contract, then this article is for you. It is free advice, but it is extremely valuable, so pay attention!
(Gals, you can read it for the entertainment value.)
To begin with, you must remember that this is your first meeting with a potentially EXCELLENT client. You are meeting her for lunch.
She loved your Web site and she was impressed with your e-mail manner, but the only thing she cares about at this lunch meeting is what you can do to help her wobbly business.
Above all, focus on her needs! She did not come here today to listen to you reading from your latest e-book, “The Unabridged History of My Success With Clients.”
Alright, listen up!
1. She doesn’t want to hear about the messy breakups you have had with ex-clients. She doesn’t want to know how crazy, wacko, and nuts they all were.
When it’s safe to mention: NEVER, because she will recognize that the common element in the breakups was YOU.
2. Unless her business is politics, she doesn’t want to know about your political leanings.
When it’s safe to mention: Are you kidding?! Save the Ayn Rand or Karl Marx rants for anonymous online discussion forums.
3. Even if her business is golf, she doesn’t want to hear about your game and the swing changes that you’re working on.
When it’s safe to mention: ONLY on the first tee when you play “client golf” together.
4. She doesn’t want to hear how much you grossed last year. She will think you’re interested in only one thing.
When it’s safe to mention: After you have become bosom buddies and the two of you are tossing back martinis during a weekend in Las Vegas.
5. She most definitely doesn’t want to hear about your fantasy football prowess. That’s all I should have to say on that subject.
When it’s safe to mention: NEVER, EVER! It’s safe to talk about only in the very unlikely event that the two of you someday form a new business together. And even then, bring it up AFTER the articles of incorporation have been signed.
6. She really doesn’t want to hear that you’ve learned A TON about sales and marketing from watching “Mad Men.”
When it’s safe to mention: After the marketing advice you give her results in enormous sales gains for her business. Then when you mention your “Mad Men” secret, she will think you’re kidding and she might find your Draperesque sense of humor kind of cute.
7. She might not want to hear about your dog. But then again, she might. Be careful with this one; what if she’s a cat person?
When it’s safe to mention: After your client mentions that she is a dog person. From then on, ALWAYS bring up dogs in conversation.
8. She doesn’t want to hear that you were accepted at Princeton and wait-listed at Harvard, but you attended State U. out of respect for your parents. And that was because they’re huge donors to State and the new wing of the business school was named after them.
When it’s safe to mention: Sorry, she will never believe that whopper.
9. She doesn’t want to hear that you love Peter Cetera. (Dude, how can you be so dumb?! She’s seen the commercial.)
When it’s safe to mention: In five, maybe 10 years, after everybody has forgotten it.
10. She doesn’t want to know how busy you are with other GREAT clients, because it means you are too busy to solve her challenges.
When it’s safe to mention: During the nasty screaming match that marks the end of your profitable but stormy business relationship.