I do a fair share of meetings. Some of them are necessary to get a deal done. Others are essential to build or maintain my network of contacts, which is probably the most valuable asset a business developer has. Finally there are those that, for various reasons, are an absolute waste of time. Funny thing, this last type – you never know this particular meeting will be useless – you just walk out of one, and figure out you just lost an hour of your life for nothing. What usually happens to me is I walk into a meeting with a clear goal, and often it turns out within 10 mins that it’s just not going to happen. If I manage to keep my head cool, I usually have another option of the positive outcome of the meeting – alternative form of commercial cooperation, a good referral or in a worst case scenario very meaningful (as in ‘actionable’ feedback). If I don’t, I spend an hour blabbing about ‘business’ and thinking that I’m ‘learning about clients/partners/potential investments’ needs’ just to realize in the end that the result is my high blood pressure and a very brief ‘good feeling’.
Always Be Closing is an old sales jargon describing an attitude of constant and smart sales mode – driving the prospect towards the sale or quickly cutting loose if a sale is unlikely. This ‘cutting loose’ approach was fine, when we were meeting large quantities of similar clients. When your job is meeting CEOs of Fortune500 companies, the game is slightly different – you’ve got to be closing at every meeting. I believe this is true about everything we do Today. The 1000 similar clients are served by automated systems, SaaS applications or transactional platforms. Our job is only meeting important people, and we have to concentrate on effectively closing each and every one.
Just in case you are a technical/product person reading this and thinking ‘d’oh- of course those sales people should always be selling’, think about the code you are writing and whether all of it ‘closes’ the customer, or are you just making yourself feel better.
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