Does this sound familiar? You get a referral. You meet with the potential customer. It goes well. She seemed to enjoy it. You certainly did. It looks like you might well work together. So, you run back to the office. You prepare the information she wants. You send it to her on time. You can almost smell the sale. But then you don’t hear back. Nothing.
And you now have that horrendous dilemma – do you:
- chase her, and feel you’re pestering; or
- leave it, and feel impotent?
Both horrible, yes?
The fact is: it’s hard to re-ignite these things once they’ve gone cold. A delay is never good. So, it’s essential you do all you can to inject pace and stop this happening.
Good news: there are only two things to master
To ensure you see her again, you only have to master two things:
- Say the right things…
- …at the right time
If both are right, she’ll see you again. If either’s missing, she probably won’t.
Let’s start with the latter first…
The best time to ask for Meeting Two
The best time to ask for a second meeting is during the first one.
That’s right. During it. Not after it.
When you think about it, this makes perfect sense: it’s always easier to do things face-to-face than remotely. And, if the meeting has gone well, she may never like you as much again as she does now! So, strike while the iron is hot.
If you don’t, and if she then doesn’t reply to your follow-up in a few days’ time, you’ll have the pestering/impotent dilemma again. It’s just much better to sort it while you’re there.
And don’t let nerves stop you asking. Some people think “she’s so important compared to me. I don’t want to push it, by asking her for a second meeting”.
This is not the right way to think. During your meeting, you’ll have helped her. So it’s also in her interest to meet again. There’s a good chance you can help both her firm, and her personally. A second meeting benefits you both. So ask for it.
The best way to ask for Meeting Two
Many people feel awkward asking “would you like another meeting?”
They’re worried the response might be “no”.
Now, let’s face it, most people aren’t that rude. Can you honestly imagine someone you’ve just met with for an hour saying ‘No, I wouldn’t. Now get out’?
But, I do understand you might feel nervous asking a yes/no question. So, don’t.
Instead, ask a yes/yes question. In other words, give her a couple of options as to when she could see you again, so she can choose for herself.
“I’ve enjoyed our meeting, and am looking forward to developing our thoughts further. I’m aware that both of us have follow-up actions, which will take some time. So, when do you think we should get together again? Some time next week? Maybe the week after?”
- I’m not saying “do we meet again?” Instead, it’s “when do we meet again?”
- I’ve been clear that both of us will benefit from Meeting Two. This is not her doing me a favour
- If she chooses one of my two options, great. If she says “neither”, I’ll simply reply with “well, when would you suggest instead?”
You’ll be amazed how well this technique works. After all, if you’ve had a good meeting, why wouldn’t she accept one of your date options?
But even this script is too scary for some people. So a slight variation: ask for her advice. As you know, people like to be asked to give advice. And also, once someone’s advised something, she’s very likely to agree to it!
So, for example:
“I’ve enjoyed our meeting, and am looking forward to developing our thoughts further. How would you advise we take things forward?
Again, very compelling. If she proposes something you’re happy with, get it in the diary before you leave. If she doesn’t, use her response to kick-off a conversation about what happens next.
Yes, but do these techniques work?
In short, yes.
I use them. They work for me.
My customers use them. They work for them.
And other BNI members use them. They work for them too.
And most persuasively of all: they work on children!
I use options to convince my five-year-old to go to bed – “Maia, it’s time for your favourite story upstairs. Do you want Daddy to carry you? Or are you going upstairs on your own?”
And I’ve used ‘asking for advice’ to persuade my teenage son to tidy his bedroom – “Jack, you know I’m going to bang on about it if you don’t tidy your room. But you quite rightly think it’s your room. So, how would you advise we deal with this, so we’re both happy?”
And, if you can convince my kids to do anything, you can certainly convince a prospect to see you again.