Great sense of humor - I usually go to scenario number 1 after I did scenario number 2 provided that the client/ contact is local. I rather contact prospectives first like in scenario 2 build a relationship, send all the documents/ proposals they need and meet if any real interest at the last stage. Though F2F is important but scenario 2 saves a lot of time/ money/ energy and frustration IMHO
Potential Clients: Should You Meet Them Or Hide? Here is My Choice
Yippie. Someone has expressed an interest in your work!! Should you pack your bags immediately and get on plane? But wait. Can this be handled from the comfort of your home? I think so. Please read on.
Here are two scenarios, each intended to gain you new business.
In scenario number one a potential client expresses an interest in meeting with you in person to discuss your services and to see if he or she has an interest. You get up early in morning, carefully choose clothing that makes you look your best, get dressed, get in the car and drive whatever distance it takes to meet with the potential client.
Now perhaps you are lucky and the individual shows up for the meeting at all and doesn't leave you an excuse on your cell phone saying that he or she had a last minute important meeting to attend (because the meeting with you, of course, wasn't important at all).
Let's say that the meeting comes off as scheduled. Chances are you will be meeting over a meal and since you are courting the client, you will be the one expected to pay. Hopefully you won't dribble your Fettuccine Alfredo all over your clothing or worse yet that of your guest and the meeting comes off fairly well.
After eating, with great courtesy, the client tells you that he or she will look over your materials and let you know if there is any further interest. You return home, fighting traffic, having spent most of the day in this pursuit and not just a few dollars as well.
When you arrive home your perspective client calls you and says that he or she was very impressed with you and requests that you agree to future meetings to gather with members of the staff. And, by the way, don't forget to bring a detailed proposal with you. All of this, of course, on speculation.
In scenario number two you wake up when you please and head to your computer in any form of dress or undress. You have already tested a number of promotional letters to generate new clients and have settled on the one that works for you. You belong to a number of social networks in which potential clients welcome getting a message from you.
When at your computer you identify those network members who may be interested in your services. You write to them, in each case personalizing your letter as appropriate. By the end of the day you have sent 50 to 100 persuasive and motivational letters which have worked for you in the past.
OK. Which of these two scenarios makes the most sense to you? If you look like Keira Knightley or Leonardo DiCaprio scenario number one might be just right. Since I don't fall into either of those categories I choose scenario number two.
By reaching as many as 100 people with a targeted, tested message there is a good chance one of the recipients may be looking for or about to be looking for precisely the services you have to offer.
Now, it's true, you may have spent all day sending out your letters. In the scheme of things however eight hours of emailing seems well worth the time it may take to gain one client who may be with you for years.
Top top it off, there are fewer reasons than ever to leave home . these days.
Unlimited phone, Internet, food delivered to your door and so on were part of the reasons you decided to work at home in the first place.
In an in-person meeting you face the danger of being tongue tied--caught off balance. At home on the Internet you can take your sweet time developing a cogent answer to any question.
By choosing option number two you avoid traffic jams, viruses on door knobs, terrorist explosions, rain, snow, frogs falling from the sky and even the possibility, God forbid, that you might run into Donald Trump.
You make the choice!
Learn more about the author, Richard Berman.
Comment on this article
Posted by Sahar Andrade, Burbank, California |
Sep 10, 2010
Posted by Lou Thomason, Chappaqua, New York |
Sep 11, 2010
As Richard describes in his scenarios, a person with experience leveraging the tools available on the Internet can enable timely and efficient results....
Posted by Carol Palmatier, Fenton, Michigan |
Sep 11, 2010
I agree, Richard. The only F2F that I do anymore involves large group events where I can potentially meet those 50-100 people all at once. I find it's good to get out of the house occasionally, just so I don't forget how to wear shoes properly :-)
Posted by susan treiman, Hastings On Hudson, New York |
Sep 11, 2010
Let's hear it for scenario two. Can't tell you how many long days I've spent meeting clients who eventually turn out to be disappointing. I'd rather be disappointed at home, with a nice bag of salt and vinegar potato chips nearby to console me!
Posted by Adam Bezark, Evanston, Illinois |
Sep 12, 2010
I sorry, but I think you're all missing the point. You send out the 100 messages, not to avoid the face to face, but to get the face to face! In scenario 1, assuming you've properly qualified this prospect, you are days ahead of scenario 2!
For most types of businesses, after you spend all day sending out the 100 messages, you might have one prospect if it went well (because the other 99 are bombarded daily by other people sending out messages all day). After a little back and forth with the prospect what's the next step??? Yes, the same face to face meeting that everyone seems to be avoiding. Can you really build enough rapport to start a multi year business relationship without the face to face? How many 'A' clients do you have that didn't start with a face to face? I'm not talking about selling toner cartridges, I'm talking about a business relationship where you earn the right to be considered a trusted advisor and receive quality referrals.
You need to get to the face to face to bring in the client. It's a necessary step in the process. It should be welcomed not dreaded. If you're not regularly bringing in business from the face to face than you need to work on your qualification process or your skills. What we don't need is an excuse to stay comfortable, hiding behind our computers patting ourselves on the back because we were busy at doing something all day. The world is "out there", our prospects are "out there" our clients are "out there" none of it exists in our computer screens. Marketing, getting referrals, social media if used right are all great because they can provide the POTENTIAL to create relationships. But don't kid yourself, they only provide the potential. Real relationship building starts when two people shake hands, look each other in the eye and have an open and honest conversation.
Posted by Richard Berman, Chappaqua, New York |
Sep 12, 2010
Adam, Thanks for your comment. I am a writer and a publicist and, as such, most of my work is virtual. I have never met many of my clients who are spread out across the country. Related to sending a large number of messages, I write to some very select groups who don't get bombarded. This has worked for me but obviously won't work for everyone. Best, Rich
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