Million Dollar Consulting® Mindset
From Alan Weiss
Volume 1 Number 9
A monthly newsletter with the objective of quickly and pragmatically helping consultants to improve their craft, results, and lives.
How to Approach A New Buyer
Let’s say you’ve verified that the person you’re meeting for the first time is a true, economic buyer. The individual can authorize a check for your services. How can you make the most of this first meeting?
- Stay in the moment. Prepare well, but listen carefully. Use the other person’s comments to further your intent, don’t simply ignore them and continue on your merry way.
- Seek personal as well as organizational objectives. What does the buyer seek to relieve or improve for himself or herself?
- Anticipate logical questions (e.g., “How large is your consulting firm?”) and prepare appropriate responses. Always be truthful: I’m a solo practitioner who prefers to work with just a few, excellent clients than to build a business with overhead and staff and administrative responsibilities.
- Keep your own goal in mind. What are the minimum and the maximum objectives you expect to achieve in this first encounter?
- Stick to your time frame. It’s not flexible. If you have 45 minutes, move accordingly and begin to sum up at about 35 minutes with definitive next steps and dates, as needed.
After five of six meeting with buyers resulted in requests that the consultant visit/interview/collaborate with human resources, the consultant asked for an evaluation of what was going wrong. We role-played the typical first meetings.
The consultant’s default position was to discuss her methodology. She was comfortable and passionate talking about it, but it bored her buyers to tears and/or prompted them to think that she should be talking to others interested in methodology—HR.
We changed her narrative to talk only about results and the buyer’s objectives. It was a tough transition, but once she mastered it, she was successful in remaining with the buyer as a peer, and never being delegated again because her approach was “too strategic” for HR.
Frequently Asked Question
Q. What do I do when the buyer says, “I’d love for you to obtain the input of some of my key people. Would you mind interviewing them prior to a proposal?”
A. Never argue. Try this: “I’d be happy to talk to them. Why don’t we set a date and time to debrief, because I often find that I hear things that may not be consistent with what you’ve told me, and I’d like to reconcile that with you before preparing the proposal?” That should get you back to the buyer almost every time.
A “mini-Consulting College, with a quarter century of consulting success presented in terms of thought leadership, Million Dollar Referrals, exploiting the two sales you make with a proposal, remote coaching and consulting, setting the highest fees of your life and getting them before the project begins, and much more. First 25 people get a free, third morning with a personal debrief by Alan. Dinner for 12 available with Alan on November 15 (two seats remain!). The one-time opportunity of a lifetime.
Oct. 31- Nov. 4, 2011
Castle Hill Inn
Participate in the finest development anywhere for consultants and related professionals.
October 4, Toronto
October 14, Boston
For people who want to use breakfast meetings to create a room full of buyers and short-term business. Quite a few of Alan’s mentorees have now hosted these with significant success—often instant business. Participate in one that Alan runs for participants over a breakfast from 7:30 to 9:00, then spend three hours deconstructing what occurred and building your own, including market plan, facilitation support, and follow-up actions.
© Alan Weiss 2011. All rights reserved.
You may reprint and excerpt this newsletter provided that you include our copyright, the source, the author, and “reprinted with permission.”