You’ve Got Mail

reliable annoyance, direct to your inbox.

Letterbox by gemma-evans-via-unsplash

I got an email last week. While that in itself isn’t unusual, it irritated me somewhat.

It went like this…

“Hi Clare (personalised, I do like that)
I am X (not his real name) and I am the random officially titled person at XYZ company (also not his real company). I will be in your city on this date through this date and I would be interested in meeting with you in person (…er, ok)
Our company does lots of stuff and here is a link to check out that we are legit and not horrid spammers (I’m paraphrasing that bit)
Would you be interested in meeting with me for a coffee and a quick chat about the support we can offer? “

Ok, so at this point, naturally I google the company (I ain’t clickin’ random links my friend!) and have to admit, they look pretty decent. So I reply…

” Hi X,
Thanks for your email, I would be happy to have coffee and find out more, My availability is this and that time.”

and quick as a flash, I had a reply…

Hi Clare
Great, lets meet at X time.

and then the bit that grated on me…

To make our meeting as productive as possible, please share specific projects and technologies of interest.

Wait… What?

YOU contact ME, request MY time to potentially sell YOUR products, and then tell ME to provide specific details of why I want to meet?

Now, perhaps I am being overly harsh, I’ll admit that it is a possibility, but I would have thought there would be time for me to speak at this meeting so you can also find out about me and my company? or you know, actually know why you’re contacting someone in the first place)

And by all means call me crazy, but if someone requests a meeting, I expect THEM to produce the agenda, not to have to do the work myself.

Surely (one would think) that it’s standard to do even a minimal amount of research on the people and companies you meet with? Maybe to find out how you can help them? maybe even just to be a courteous human?

So as time went by, and having thought about it, I’m at the point where I have to assume that if I were bother meeting, it would go along the lines of this:

  • We meet
  • Vague niceties and/or polite inquiries in me or the company, doesn’t listen, but instead waits for me to stop talking so he can make his sales pitch
  • He starts his speech with something like “you mentioned you were interested in…” (well, no I didn’t actually)
  • Blah blah blah sales pitch

Or something along those lines.

As you have probably already guessed, there will not be a meeting next week.

So what can we do to prevent further Clare rants on LinkedIn?
If you are looking to meet new companies:

Do your research. Find out what they are working on, how they operate, and how your service could be of benefit to them. You can find out a lot from social media accounts like LinkedIn or Twitter but check their website to see more company info. Just be interested in them, genuine interest goes a long way.

Ask for an introduction. If there is a specific person of interest you’d like to meet, and you have mutual contacts, ask your mutual contacts to introduce you. It creates a much warmer first impression.

Failing that, Introduce yourself. a casual, personalised connection request will usually suffice but will show that you have shown an interest in the person and you are connecting for a reason.

Attend events. If you are going to be in a new area, look for events you can attend where you will meet people in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.

Listen. When meeting new contacts many folks are so keen to go out there and promote their latest service that instead of listening to others and making some genuine connections, they simply wait for their chance to speak. Listening to connections will not only build rapport but will also organically give you information on how you can be of service to them and potentially how they could help you.

Follow Up with a coffee. If you’ve already met someone its a lot easier to have that one to one conversation where you can tell them more about your business. It’s also a lot less intense.

Don’t be salesy. Ok, so this is a particular bugbear of mine, but studies show that it takes between 7-20 interactions* with someone before they know, like and trust you enough to buy from or refer you, So going in for a sale on the first meeting is almost always doomed to failure and doesn’t bode well for a future relationship or referrals.

Is there anything I’ve missed? What steps do you take to build your client relationships?

*7 to 20 interactions sounds like a LOT but these can be anything from introductions, and meetings to likes, comments and shares of posts. It would be crazy time consuming to have 7 121’s, never mind 20!!!