To any business professional, time is money. Persuading them to give you some of that precious time can be difficult, especially if you have a smaller business and are, as yet, not seen as an important player. Nevertheless, growing your business means nailing down those bread-and-butter business agreements, and that means getting them to visit you, or else visiting them so that you can make your pitch. Use these tips to improve your chances of securing that important meeting – then make the most of it!
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Home Turf Advantage – but How to Get Them There?
Seeing is believing. If you think your business has something special that will impress prospective B2B clients, getting them to come and visit you is first prize. Make it easy for them by sponsoring the trip including corporate housing in Toronto, for example. A top tactic is to choose a time during which they’re busy with planning for the following year or season. If you can match that time with another event that may be of interest to them, for example, a symposium or industry event, you have an opportunity to act as their host.
No matter how well you think you know your clients, dig deeper. Try to identify their strategies and priorities and see how well you can match them or complement them. Show your knowledge when issuing your invitation. They’ll be more likely to see your proposed meeting as an opportunity to follow up with urgency. Remember: you aren’t asking for favors. You’re offering them an opportunity to do themselves a favor!
Give them solid reasons to see the potential benefits of negotiating with you. For example, if you’re negotiating supply with a manufacturing company, find out who already supplies them and look for ways to improve on the service they already receive.
Start With Existing Contacts
Before you issue your invitation, run the idea by insiders you are already in contact with. Tell them about your concept, and ask them for opinions. Gaining their support improves your chances of getting a commitment. If they don’t seem enthusiastic, ask them what they think you could do to further your business relationship. It may mean going back to the drawing board, and it may even mean scrapping your idea altogether – but that’s better than investing time, money, and effort into a pitch that isn’t going to work.
Existing contacts may act as allies in your plan to secure the meeting you’re hoping to convene. If they feel that it’s outside their ambit, they can tell you who you should be talking to instead, and possibly help you by making the introduction. Never go over their heads. If your idea is a good one, they’d like credit for spotting it, and by allowing them the opportunity, you strengthen the relationship.
Without a solid opportunity to explore, you won’t be able to get your clients to attend your meeting. Actions and decisions are the “meat” of any meeting. It’s never just a “talk shop.” Getting them to see your business and attend your meeting is a minor victory in itself. What happens next depends on whether you’ve formed an accurate picture of their needs and how your business can offer them opportunities to help them realize their goals.