If you’re not used to prospecting for business, then this installment will introduce you to the basics.
Remember when we talked about your ecosystem?
Well the meetings you have are a crucial part of setting up a sustainable ecosystem where you and everyone else in it can thrive symbiotically.
The power of ecosystems is in the health and generosity of all their members.
The first step in creating your healthy ecosystem (after the tiered listing you did earlier this week) is to meet with people. If you’ve ever been in a BNI or other small networking group, you know that a lot of business gets passed via 1:1 meetings.
Because it’s often easier to establish a real connection with someone 1:1 rather than in a group. (I have observed circumstances that contradict this rule. We’ll cover it in the Master Class.)
In order to get that meeting, though, you have to send good emails or make good phone calls.
My first freelance gig was as a wholesale sales rep for European fashion brands. I cold called store owners and buyers up and down the east coast to set up meetings so I could show them my brands.
It was superduper hard. But it taught me some valuable skills.
To get meetings:
1. Start with your closest contacts first. The top tier of your contact list is going to be full of easy wins. Go there first. Trying to get meetings with people who don’t know you can be demoralizing and a waste of time at this point.
2. Write amazing emails. Ramit Sethi has an entire product about emails and calls that get responses. It’s about $250 and totally worth it. The gist? Shorter emails are MUCH better. Use a relevant subject line. Ask for what you want (a short meeting) and mention a carrot of some sort- as in, how can you help the person you’re meeting with?
3. Give three or four specific windows of time so that your contact has only to say yes and agree to one of them.
4. Follow up with a meeting invite to make it official. You don’t want to send extraneous emails nailing down location, confirmation time, etc. Make it easy for them!
5. Above all DO NOT send a multi-paragraph email about your new service offerings asking them to refer you out. I hate those kinds of emails and so do the potential peeps in your ecosystem.
If you’re not getting responses via email, consider having a friend/biz buddy read through some of the emails you sent to see if you’ve been overly fawning, verbose, or otherwise not sending emails worthy of a response.
I have a couple of email tricks that get ridiculously high response rates from people I don’t even know, so I’ll share those more in the Master Class too.
Keep in mind: busy people decline meetings all the time. Remember: it’s not personal.
Tweak your emails and try again.
Also, do not underestimate the power of phone calls!
In this email/text heavy world, becoming comfortable on the phone is a crucial piece of your Corporate Cash puzzle.
Ballers (those who are serious and “in the game”) pick up the phone! Those who are afraid of success hide behind ubiquitous email.
So, you can always call to set up appointments. It’s often so refreshing to have a quick chat, pick the times (without having to go through assistants and such), and move on with the day.
Now that you have your meetings (either face to face or on the phone or video chat), what are you gonna do?
You’re going to ROCK them- that’s what!
Here’s the general outline of an ecosystem meeting:
- Socializing and questions and fun and often good tasty food (it's relationship building after all)
- Letting them know about recent work you’ve done
- Letting them know about work you’re looking to do (and who you’d like to do it with)
- Asking for referrals and/or asking for business
Two cardinal rules post-meeting:
- Follow up with a nice note (email or handwritten)
- In all cases to do something for them whether it’s biz-related or not
I must say it’s easy to be good at the socializing piece of things and much harder to flat out ask for business or referrals. But you have to learn to get over yourself if you’re going to be in business for any length of time.
The worst answer you can get is no, but in fact that’s a very good answer! At the very least you’ve made a friend/contact and can develop that relationship.
For more on the topic of developing your ecosystem, I think that Keith Ferrazzi's "Never Eat Alone" is fabulous. (Ha, even if I don't particularly agree with the title!)