The 12 questions..a summary

For the last 10 months at Selling With Creativity, we’ve been conducting an ongoing ‘would you or would you not quiz’. Here’s a summary of the 12 questions we asked and a summary of the response, whether we think it’s a good idea to do these things at a first meeting with a prospective client.

As barometer we assumed two general objectives for that first meeting.
A) You want them to think of you as a creative person that they would like to know, and
B) You’d like them to think of you as useful.

Here are the twelve questions and a summary of the conclusion reached.

1) Would you ask..”What is your company’s overall strategy and what are the three biggest challenges or objectives that the strategy creates for you?”
It’s a doozy of a question, but it gets to the heart of things, can inform you a ton. If the person sitting across from you can answer it, they are the likely the right person to be talking to.

2) Do you ask a question about a picture on their office wall?
We say yes. You’ll often learn something useful, and personal about your prospective client. A simple inquiry can lay the groundwork for a useful connection.

3) Do you explain the three most common problems your product solves?
Not really, no. Only do this if your prospect has those problems. Tell me how to solve a problem I don’t have and you’ll bore me.

4) Is it a good idea to summarize a transaction you are currently working on with a well-known client?
Although, it might be good for your credibility, it’s not so good for your integrity, especially if the deal is ongoing.

5) Would you find out which competitors they are talking to, and communicate a concern that people have with that company?
Nah, try not to badmouth your competitors. Say something relevant and move on to a subject that is more useful to both of you.

6) Do you ask for a tour of the client’s office?
Do! It helps you better remember the client’s organization and what they do, and you never know to whom you’ll be introduced on the tour.

7) Would you suggest an idea that occurs to you during the meeting that will help your prospect, but that won’t ever get you any business with them?
Yup, it’s the whole reason you are there; to be useful.

8) Do you routinely ask to use the bathroom?
You never know who you’ll meet in the bathroom (see #6). And, it gives you and your host a minute to collect your thoughts.

9) If the prospect starts to talk about something that one of your products might be able to help them with, do you wait for a pause and tell them how your product can help?
Of course you let them know how your product can help, but wait until the end of the meeting when you offer all your ideas and insights. Try not to jump in with your ‘suggestions’ the moment they occur to you.

10) Do you look for something the client says with which you disagree, and then say so?
Yes, if you honestly disagree, do so, in order to establish yourself as someone who won’t just say what a client wants to hear.

11) Ever arrive with a prepared presentation and structure the meeting around the presentation?
Actually, a fine thing to do, as long as you use the presentation as a conversation starter not a bully pulpit.

12) Do you ask a client at the end of the meeting if they know anyone who might benefit from your product, service or expertise?
Yes, but only after a meeting where you think you were perceived as useful.

That’s it.

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