Where to meet?
Picking the right place is one of the most important things to a great 1 to 1. You do not want to be in a loud congested place no matter how trendy it may be. Finding a place that is convenient for both of you as well as quiet enough where you can hear each other talk. Sounds obvious but how many times have you met at a crowded loud Starbucks?
What to talk about?
For me, it depends on the relationship. How many times have I seen this person out and about? If we share a few networking groups or is this my first time ever really talking with the person.
If it is one of our first real conversations I like to keep it light and get to know the person and find out more about what makes them tick. I try to find that common bond. You probably heard it a million times but people buy from or refer people they know, like and trust. So, before I get into the meat and potatoes of my business or theirs I get to know them better and find that bond. Depending on how long that takes I usually schedule a follow up a few weeks later to talk more in-depth about our businesses.
If I know them well enough, I try to cut the small talk and go right into the heart of the meeting, how can we help each other grow? Before the 1 to 1, I go down my pipeline and closed business and pick out a handful of names that I think would benefit them.
I read some people open up their LinkedIn ™ profile and start sharing names back and forth and I think that is great if you both have strong accounts. I have a lot of people I follow and that follow me but the strength of my profile is weak when it comes time to sharing those with people in a local 1 to 1 situation.
That brings me to another point is this person you’re meeting, do they have only a local sales area like HVAC companies or can they sell to anyone anywhere. Do the research about your guest before you meet them because if I gave them a few referrals in Charleston SC when they only do the Charlotte NC area I am wasting their time.
Being a Matchmaker!
During the 1 to 1 as I am talking with them more and finding out about their business, I am constantly thinking about who would be a perfect fit for this person. It is not only business related I created a few friendships that mutually benefited them both. That is one of the coolest things you can do during a 1 to 1. Yeah finding them a client is awesome but after that transaction that relationship is done but finding them someone that can become a friend is something that will last with them for a long time. You’ll definitely be remembered and rewarded for doing that as well.
Do I even need to mention stuff…
Don’t try to make a sale or close a deal or be greedy of their time. Make sure the flow of the conversation is even and natural. I’ve had my share of interview 1 on 1’s where it seemed like the person only wanted to talk about me and every time I tried to sneak in well what about you and your business it was a quick response and back to me. It happens, stay focused and remember at the end to try to schedule another 1 to 1 and say next time I want to learn more about you.
The bottom line is, be genuine and do what you say you’re going to do. Be consistent at doing 1 to 1’s the more you do the better you will be at being a matchmaker and the better you are at that the more rewarding and profitable 1 on 1’s will be for you.