We’ve all heard that magical phrase “it’s just a numbers game.” Often followed up with “all you need to do is get out there and go and meet people”. The old theory goes, the more people you meet, the more opportunities you’ll get, and the more proposals you’ll get to write, and eventually you’ll get more business. Simple idea – yes. Effective and clever way to run your business? No. To give you an idea of why this isn’t such a great way of working we’ll look at the component stages.
Should you run a meetings campaign / competition?
It has been common practice for organisations across all industries to run campaigns to get their people out there. For those who like winning, or company recognition, or in some cases even receiving a prize for having the most meetings, the motivation is up. As a consequence of this, the number of meetings the organisation has should increase.
If the aim is simply to get meetings, then the first trap is set.
Trap 1: Filling your diary with coffee’s and chit-chats
Here in NZ we have a massive coffee culture in all our cities and dwellings, I’m sure it’s the same in many other regions too. On any business day the cafes are full of people meeting and while there is nothing wrong with talking business over a nice drink, be careful the setting can easily lead to a nice conversation that is more along the lines of a social meeting, rather than a business link. While it is great to build personal rapport, if your conversation remains in this area it can become awkward to shift it back to business. The only value in these meetings is in making a social connection and taking a break in both of your busy days.
Trap 2: Making meetings to talk about your offering
Your company wants you to have more meetings so that they get more work, they’ve made it clear to you that’s the reason, so you’re keen to get out there and start promoting what your organisation does. This will of course impact on your chance to build great rapport with people you meet and to understand more about them and their goals. It will also mean that you’re in danger of forming an ad-hoc relationship i.e. you’re the person they may talk to, probably along with others, when they have a clear need for what you’re offering. They only talk to you about your products/services when they’re needed, and then they drive you down on price.
Trap 3 – The main point: They’ll get no value from meeting with you.
If you’re making meetings just to fill your diary or to simply increase your pipeline, then what value will the person you’re meeting get from their time with you? Take a look at your calendar, no doubt it’s filled with multiple internal meetings. How many of these are you looking forward to? How many of these will you get value from?
Now imagine you are your client and they are looking at their meeting schedule. Is yours one they are looking forward to, as they will get value from it? If it isn’t, then cancel the meeting and give them their 30 minutes back. Otherwise you’re taking 30 of their minutes, on this planet, that they’ll never get back.
So remember whatever you hear, it isn’t a numbers game. It is better for you to have fewer meetings, with a clear purpose that adds value to the person your meeting.
Want to find out how your last meeting went? Use this meeting assessment tool to understand exactly where your relationship with another person is at, and to receive advice on what to do in your next meeting to move your relationship more towards a trusted, partner relationship.