Having coffee-meetings with people is an everyday part of my life – I often think I should have shares in Starbucks!
It is one of the ways I get to know people, and get to like and trust them. Sometimes these meetings lead to business, sometimes they lead to friendships – and sometimes they remind me of how much some people like the sound of their own voice!
When I’m having a coffee-meeting I like to give the other person air-space to tell me about their business. After all, I can only ever find out if I can help increase the sales of their business, if I first find out about their business.
I recently arranged to have a coffee-meeting with someone i had only just met. On this occasion neither of us knew too much about what we each did for a living, so I assumed we would both have some air-space to let the other know a bit more about ourselves.
How wrong was I?
The meeting was scheduled for 30 minutes, and after half an hour, my coffee-mate came up for air, and said: “Oh, sorry I haven’t asked what you do for a living!”
I just smiled and let him continue. “Anyway,” he said. “I’ll email you some information about what I’ve been talking about and give you a ring.”
DON’T BOTHER I felt like telling him. It wasn’t so much that I wasn’t interested in his services (because I might have been) it was because he had spent every minute of our meeting starting every sentence with the words WE and MY. Not once did he say YOU and YOUR, which means not once did he ask about me or my business. Not only was this rude, but how could he possibly really find out about how he could help me without first finding more out about me? In fact, finding anything out about me would have been a start. In my book I call this the Me Trap.
I can’t stress enough, guys the importance of silence (your silence!) when you are meeting potential clients. This will really help you.
Here are some basic rules –
- Ask a question about the other person
- Listen to the answer and don’t interrupt them
- Keep listening because if you don’t talk they keep on talking
- Smile, nod and make a note of their answers
To help you avoid falling into the Me Trap, here’s a quick tip. Every time you speak in a meeting write down M for Me. Every time the other person speaks write down Y for You. If the number of M’s is more than Y’s then you are falling into the Me Trap and you should follow the above rules.
Give it a go and let me know how your meetings start to run – hopefully you’ll know far more about your potential client and how you can help them.