Can coffee meetings be authentic if there’s an agenda?
The simple answer is “yes”, if the agenda is beneficial to both parties.
Many entrepreneurs engage in business as a transaction, whether we are networking, following up, or having sales conversations. Meeting someone for the first time may not be the opportune time to relinquish everything you do.
Let’s check in with ourselves. Do you or do you not you consider yourself a heart-centred entrepreneur? Meaning, you care about others and want to get to know people first?
Attending coffee meetings and pitching all the “whats” of your business may not deliver the results you’re looking for. It will be hard for you to build relationships using this tactic.
It’s time to ditch the pitch!
People buy on emotion. If something feels forced and overall icky and pushy, your chances of working together are low. If you’re using this tactic, you’re focusing on making a sale rather than a long-time business relationship.
Let’s face it, as entrepreneurs our time is extremely valuable. I know mine is. Going into my fifth year of business, I’m very picky about who I have coffee meetings with. So how do we show up to our first Starbucks date with the perfect balance of being authentic and yet wanting to stick to an agenda of finding referrals, collaborators, and great contacts?
1. Determine whether you and your prospect are a good fit.
Saying “yes” to everything is not a good idea. Especially if this isn’t what you love to do or it isn’t in your “genius zone”. Learn how to pre-qualify your potential clients before, during, and after your conversation. (Ask me how.) Let them know that it’s ok to say “no”. Maybe you’re better suited to be great collaborators and refer people to one another or maybe you have a person in mind who would be better suited to help. You will be a hero in their eyes for doing so rather than taking on a project you probably shouldn’t.
2. Understand what that person really NEEDS.
Listen and ask powerful questions, understand the story being told to you, and learn how to recognize their challenges and concerns. (Not sure what to ask? I can help you.) Set fair expectations right away. If you can’t help them, be honest about it. You probably know someone who can.
3. Remember that building relationships takes time.
If you’re meeting with a prospect, you may need to follow-up a few times. It takes anywhere from 3-8 touchpoints before the average prospect will say “yes” to doing business with you. Remember, they are in the “getting-to-know-you” stage and figuring out if they can trust you. Strive to add value but avoid offering discounts.
4. Build TRUST.
Build the relationship. You certainly can’t expect immediate trust. They will be examining you and your beliefs. Like many industries, chances are you are not the only one with what you offer. Learn how you can help them. Let them get to know you, like you, and then trust will follow. Don’t focus so much on how you are different from everyone else. Focus on being their solution. If you solve a problem or can get a job done, you already stand out to them. Remember, trust is an emotional thing.
- Want to learn more about having effective conversations?
- Want to be able to ask questions that takes you to the root cause of problems for your potential customer?
- Want to know how to articulate the Why of your business and get others on board to your great thing?
I’ll help you articulate what you do and WHY you do it. From coffee meetings to introductions at networking events and your message on your website, you’ll see a difference in the quality of people you attract and get them to pay you what you’re worth.