When you’re building a new business, it’s necessary to meet a lot of new people. There are dozens of lunches and hundreds of coffees, some awkward and even a little painful. A lot of them go nowhere — it’s a new contact, likely someone who, it turns out, will never buy what you’re selling, but still, they now understand what it is that you do. The lessons:
- The coffees and lunches may seem fruitless, but it’s worth it, always. It often doesn’t seem so, in the moment! What a huge waste of time! But educating just one more person who may be a referral source, may just pay off one day.
- Writing a proposal for a potential new client, and delivering your pitch is another exercise that may seem pointless after many rejections. It’s not; it’s an opportunity to refine your approach, to practice how you talk about what it is that you do.
- Following up more than once with a potential client who isn’t even courteous enough to reply to a proposal they requested IS a huge waste of time. Kiss that one goodbye and move on.
- Confirm all appointments. I’ve had people show up at the wrong coffee shop. I narrowly missed a lunch, myself. I like to send a calendar appointment, now. It seems to work.
- If they’ve asked you to lunch to pick your brain, let them pick up the tab. And don’t give them more than a snippet of information. Brain Picking is not free.
Now it’s time to set up a few coffees and lunches!