How to do a great first meeting.


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First meetings can be a real problem, however, they are also vital as you only get "one chance to make a good first impression"
This simple presentation suggests an over all framework for a first meeting and suggests some simple ways of pulling the information together to maximize your chances of a great first meeting.
This is by no means exhaustive and if anyone has any good ideas, please let me know so i can add them

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How to do a great first meeting.

  1. 1. Some practical things you can do to prepare. Richard Masters
  2. 2. Objective  First meetings are diffucult!  This slide set presents some ideas on how you can prepare to ensure that the meeting is a success.  By the end you should have a good methodology to tackle a first meeting and get follow up meetings. 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 2
  3. 3. First calls are not easy!  Don’t know the person  The lead may have been passed to you!  Effectively it is a cold call  Most clients have had bad first meeting experiences  The client does not know what to expect and will react instinctively not logically But.... 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 3
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  5. 5. Why is it so hard? •The skills involved are actually very complex •Mixture of business skills and sales skills and sales methodologies •Need to understand SME’s •Really are building blocks 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 5
  6. 6. No pressure then! Fortunately, there are some well tried and tested techniques which can help you both through the first meeting and on the way to a successful business relationship! 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 6
  7. 7. Three key topic areas Preparation 2. The meeting 3. Post meeting 1. 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 7
  8. 8. Get this wrong and it is hard to recover- however good your meeting and interpersonal skills are! 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 8
  9. 9. Important to plan thoroughly 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 9
  10. 10. Need to allocate sufficient time 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 10
  11. 11. What P***es off clients! People who have not researched the basics before the meeting 2. Reading from, and filling in, a questionnaire during the meeting! 1. 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 11
  12. 12. Areas to Prepare  Need to get as many insights as possible into the Company, the Competition and their Market.  Vital to establish your personal credibility  Three key Areas of research: A. The company B. The competitors C. The Industry/Market 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 12
  13. 13. A. Company Research  1. Website  2. Search  3. Marketing Grader  4. Social Media 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 13
  14. 14. 1.Website  Start point is the Company Website. Thoroughly search and analyse it:  Organisation: Size, Structure, legal status, key people, locations, main products and services, operations, partnerships, memberships etc.  Sales & Marketing: Overall approach to S&M, Channels to market, key marketing tactics, key messages and key words, benefit statements (value propositions), USP’s, social media connectors , brochures, white papers ,in house or outsourced, channel partners etc. 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 14
  15. 15. Keywords •Tag cloud- good start point for finding search terms. •This one is for a business consultancy. •http://www.tagcrow 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 15
  16. 16. 2. Search  Search Analysis. Using the keyword/phrases identified. Run a Google SERPs listing for the main ones. This should establish:  Is the business primarily local or not? Does it have a Google Places listing?  Where does it rank in organic search?  Does it use PPC and who is using PPC for these keywords?  Who appear to be it’s main competitors? 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 16
  17. 17. Example of a SERPS listing 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 17
  18. 18. SERPS Cont.... 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 18
  19. 19. Google Alerts Set up Google Alerts to monitor all web activity for the company on a periodic basis Company Blogs. Subscribe and follow these. 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 19
  20. 20. 3.Marketing Grader •Brilliant free •looks at key features of a website as a marketing tool •Composite score out of 1oo •Allows comparison with competition •Use with care! 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 20
  21. 21. Key MG metrics Top of funnel Blog SEO Nos pages Page title Page description MOZ Rank Nos Links Mobile Social Twitter Facebook Business Page Middle of Funnel Landing pages Marketing Automation Analytics Google Analytics 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 21
  22. 22. 4. Social Media  Can be a very useful source of information on your prospects/customers. Main Ones: 1.LinkedIn 2.Twitter 3. Facebook 4. Others 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 22
  23. 23. LinkedIn Research Individuals and Companies: Individuals Profiles  Find by people search (drop down box)  Profile info  Background & Summary (Personal Value Proposition!)  Jobs history  Academic and qualifications  References People know you have viewed their profile! 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 23
  24. 24. Connections Browse all and common connections 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings Shared Groups Companies and Locations 24
  25. 25. Companies on LinkedIn  Displays Products and Services  Insights into their marketing strategy  Displays all employees and how you are connected to them  Display followers ( click on followers tab)  Shows recent updates (offers, staff changes etc) and blogs 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 25
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  27. 27. Twitter  Google “company name twitter” to find accounts  Try key individuals as well.  Profile page: useful background information  Can see Companies own tweets: Good clue to their marketing strategy. Number of followers a good proxy for effectiveness!  See incoming Tweets “@companyname”  See their follower lists= list of customers/prospects. Or use a tool like Tweepi. 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 27
  28. 28. Facebook  Google search to get facebook accounts if not on     website Profile and timeline give you lots of background info May need to “like” them to get at detailed information on their marketing strategy: prospecting, online orders, customer service etc. See customer responses directly beneath on their Wall!! Gives you good discussion points in a meeting! 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 28
  29. 29. Example of Facebook entry 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 29
  30. 30. Other Social Networks  Visual ones:  Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr  You Tube  Directories:  Yelp, Yell, or  Specialist ones  Location Based  Foursquare  Google + Local (ex Google Places) 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 30
  31. 31. B. Competitive Research  Don’t go over board on this but need to show an awareness of competitive environment.  It will be at the top of your prospects interest list!  This is their “Mastermind” topic so be careful.  Compile a top level assessment of the main competitors as follows: 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 31
  32. 32. Information Required •Identify who the main competitors are •Assess their relative market strength •Understand their key strategies •Talk about the implications of this for the prospect 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 32
  33. 33. Who are the competition?  The SERPs listings should be a good start point!  Explore the websites of the top listing sites and those that advertise on PPC.  Go to and type in the prospects website URL, then review the listing of " People who visit this page also visit".  If business is basically local then Directories ( Yell or Yelp) or G+local are good sources 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 33
  34. 34. Competitor Strategies  Glean as much information from their company website (size, locations, products, marketing strategy etc)  Google them individually and see what turns up  Use Marketing Grader by inserting the competitors URL’s.  Search their Social Media profiles/Blogs just as you would a prospect 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 34
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  37. 37. Word of warning!  Handle this carefully as many clients are very sensitive about this!  Always ask the prospect who he sees as his major competitors and why, first.  If he doesn’t mention a competitor you have identified ask him/her what he thinks of them.  Many companies take an overly historical view of competition and cannot see the new threats on the horizon. 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 37
  38. 38. C. Industry/Market Research  Useful to be able to talk about wider trends in the prospects industry sector  The holy grail is market research which can cost money but, articles, whitepapers and industry reports do tend to exist. Find them using Google search.  Google Trends is a very useful tool..... 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 38
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  41. 41. Summary: Preparation  Preparation: is the single most important thing you can do to ensure a successful outcome to a first meeting. Give it sufficient time.  Having researched someone and their company beforehand pays them a compliment.  Use the information wisely, be informed. Test your understanding rather than stating it.  Remember: The person opposite you has a history and an agenda- which you currently don’t know! 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 41
  42. 42. Three key topic areas Preparation 2. The meeting 3. Post meeting 1. 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 42
  43. 43. There are four key elements to the meeting: A. The meeting plan B. Opening The Call C. The questioning strategy D. Closing 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 43
  44. 44. A. The Meeting Plan  Vital element in any successful meeting  I prefer to do it about an hour before the meeting.  Involve the whole team even if you are going alone  If more than one person-agree roles!  Lots of pro-formas exist- choose one that suits you  Three examples below (downloads available)... 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 44
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  47. 47. http://www.plan2winsoftw allplanning 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 47
  48. 48. B. Opening The Call  You only get one chance to create a professional impression  Standard 4 stage process:  1. Who? (Introduction)  2. Why? (WIIFM)  3. What? (Objectives)  4. How? (Agenda) 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 48
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  50. 50. C. Questioning Strategy  In the case of your first meeting you are essentially undertaking a fact find  Subsequent meetings will be at different stages of the sales cycle and require different approaches.  Three key basics: 1. Use a list of key topic areas to structure the questioning (pre-populated). 2.Use the “Inverted Triangle” or “T Bar” questioning methodology 3. Variety of questioning types 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 50
  51. 51. Overall Questioning Structure  Define the areas you wish to find out about. Different     for different groups of people (see next slide) Pre-populate with information you have discovered during preparation. Check this during the meeting by questions to test your understanding. Have prompts/ queues for areas you need to probe Conduct the interview in a conversational manner and follow the lead of the questionee. It should not seem like an interrogation! Resist the temptation to offer views/advice or conclusions at this stage! 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 51
  52. 52. Topic lists Simple list (template) Pro forma approach  Company Details  Include:  Company structure  Company strategy and  competition Financials People Operations Sales and Marketing Personal       11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings   questions/facts/prompts Bones of an Account Plan Shareable with client! See next slide for example (downloadable) 52
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  54. 54. Questioning Methodology: Funnel, T Bar, Inverted Triangle Broad Discussion Drill Down Isolate the key issues Confirm the issues 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 54
  55. 55. Question Types 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 55
  56. 56. Cont.....  More detailed document on the question types and how to use them in the supporting Docs (download)  Active listening is just as important as questioning!  Check your pre research by asking confirmatory and probing questions  Don’t be tempted to offer opinions or conclusions at this stage - even if pressed- this meeting is a fact find! (Questioning Exercise if Time) 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 56
  57. 57. D. The Close  Most important phase: your prospect is at his most        receptive! This is when you go for your stretch objectives!! Formally draw the meeting to an end with an appropriate statement. Say what you are going to do next in terms of pulling the material together and drawing some conclusions Offer to send the material to him/her Ask for a meeting to discuss it and set a date and time Go for your stretch objective Leave quickly and decisively 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 57
  58. 58. Three key topic areas Preparation 2. The meeting 3. Post meeting 1. 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 58
  59. 59. If the first two phase have been executed well, then this is the real added value phase where you prepare the ground for the sales campaign: a. Diagnostic b. Analytics c. Report back d. Solution design 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 59
  60. 60. a. Diagnostic  The background information should be written up as a diagnostic or in a business plan format  It is useful to document as much as possible because if the prospect becomes a customer you will need an Account Plan  The Account Plan will be a key document for sharing knowledge and communicating with other resources in the future. (it is vital piece of IPR) 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 60
  61. 61. b. Analytics  It can prove useful to try and put together some analytics from the information collected.  This demonstrates understanding and added value to prospects.  Potential Diagnostics:  SWOT  PEST :Environmental Analysis  Force Field Analysis ( bridge to action)  Examples and downloads follow. 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 61
  62. 62. Environmental Analysis (PEST) 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 62
  63. 63. SWOT 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 63
  64. 64. Force Field Analysis   What is Force Field Analysis What is Force Field Analysis and how do we use one of the great change management tools for managing change in the workplace and for achieving successful organizational change management strategies? Well just about anyone who knows what is force field analysis will say that it works as one of the effective change management tools used as part of the organizational change process and business improvement initiatives. Of the many possible change management methodologies available, as a change management consultant we train clients to use the force field analysis tool to bring the project enablers and restraining forces out into the open. When managing change in the workplace we use force field analysis to assign actions to required activities and to get important things done. It is also one of the great change management tools for achieving effective communication in the workplace and effective business meetings. So let's begin looking at force field analysis, 'a great change management tool!' How do we identify, sort through and deal with the forces that are working for and against us when we are trying to implement any type of change in the workplace? Imagine now we are doing a project implementation. What are the aspects of the business, people of influence, the decision makers, and the systems and processes which are driving and enabling the project to be successful? And who and what are the aspects that are restraining or disabling the project? Generally, regardless of what it is, improved infrastructure, new processes, people, or systems, strategies, and so on, there will be those who want things to remain the same (keep the status quo) and those who are pushing for change. Generally we find ourselves in a negative situation for the business, with these two forces working against each other. 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 64
  65. 65. Issues & actions  In many ways this should come before FFA, because FFA is about how you address issues and instigate change.  Need to produce a list of the potential issues you have identified and their implications for the business.  Include all issues- even ones ultimately you cannot help with.  See next for example. 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 65
  66. 66. Issues/Solutions Summary 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 66
  67. 67. c. Report back  How you do this is very much a matter of personal preference, and the rapport you have established with the prospect.  You can share your analysis and your ideas for solutions before the meeting or you can hold them back.  My personal preference is to share as much as possible to demonstrate the potential value you can add. Delicate balance. 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 67
  68. 68. d. Solution Design  Now the hard bit starts.......  Between now and the meeting you have to develop your solution to the issues identified along with the costs and benefits etc!  But that’s another set of skills.....  Defining the costs and benefits  Articulating the case  Gaining commitment  Closing the sale  Etc. 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 68
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  70. 70.  First meeting are difficult for both parties involved!  There are techniques that can help  Preparation is the key. This gives you the key      advantage! A first meeting should take half a day in preparation. Use the information and tools available. Spend time planning the meeting. Conduct the fact find effectively- avoid speculation. Follow up and demonstrate you can add value and are a valuable business partner. 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 70
  71. 71. Presentation and Downloads  Copy of presentation and downloads:  Contact email: Twitter: @mastersassoc LinkedIn: G+: 11/11/2013 Successful First Meetings 71