- Posted by Randy Hendriks
- On December 4, 2018
- 0 Comments
Over the last few weeks I’ve had some great meetings with our ecosystem partners. Sometimes called ‘Centre of Influence Meetings’ or a ‘Connector Meeting’, these meetings are with people in your network who are not directly a sales lead themselves, but are well connected and can help you in the industry, vertical, or geographic region you are targeting.
The challenge with these kinds of meetings is that people often don’t know how to initiate them, or what to say during the meeting to get the most out of them. Having recently listened to a podcast on the topic from Bryan Neale and Bill Caskey at the Advanced Selling Podcast, I’ve come up with a few tips to help you have your own connector meetings:
The first step is to really think about who you should be meeting with. Steve Gruber posed some good questions in his blog post on networking that you can ask yourself to narrow down this pool of contacts. In relation to connectors, your interest should be on those people who are centres of influence and could provide leads in your industry.
When approaching someone about a meeting I simply tell them “I’d like to connect, catch up, and give you an update on what I’m doing, and understand the same from you.” Just as you would for a sales prospect, once someone is on board for a meeting, spend some time reviewing their LinkedIn profile and posts, Twitter feed, or company website to see if there are any special initiatives they are working on.
When you’ve prepared effectively, you can come ready to offer help, support and connections to them. This way you’re already coming into the meeting with something to give. You also might identify some sales opportunities for yourself, where you’d like an introduction or connection.
2. The Meeting
Be sure to show respect to your contact by arriving on time and arranging a meeting place that’s most convenient for them. I think it’s okay to come in with a light “agenda”, but also follow the mindset that its “better to give than receive”. Beyond catching up and small talk, consider asking questions that connect to the personal motives of your meeting partner: “What’s your mission and plan for the coming six months?” or “What are your biggest roadblocks and is there any way I can help you overcome them?” Eventually you’ll probably be asked a similar question!
Try to connect your business needs with your own personal story; the deeper “why” of what you’re doing. In my case, I might share how I really love seeing new projects take flight, enabling B2B Startups to make their first sales, and always feel energized being a part of it. At the end of the meeting, I like to review any concrete steps that have come out of the meeting, and if there’s more to discuss, suggest a follow up meeting.
3. What’s Next
I try to send a quick email or text thanking my contact for the meeting. Whatever the next step is, the key is the follow-through. If you’ve promised to make a connection, or an intro through LinkedIn or email do it! Some action items can’t be followed up on right away. In those cases, try putting a note in your calendar with a reminder to circle back. Even if your contact isn’t a direct prospect, be sure to log the meeting in your CRM. You are using a CRM right? There’s usually a partner or connector label for these kinds of contacts.
After a few days, look back in your notes, and think of any other ways you can help them, or asks you might bring to them. Stay in contact through whatever communication format they seem most comfortable with.
With a small amount of focused forethought and consistent follow through these kinds of connector meetings can hold great value for you and your growing business.
Looking for more sales help? Follow us on Twitter or sign up for our newsletter for all of our latest tips!