“Is it possible for us to meet sometimes next week? I am changing my business direction and I would like your advice on my plans.” This was the call I got from a former colleague. I said: “sure.” I believe in not charging for my first consultation session with anyone. Thus I agreed to meet with her to see how I may assist her.
When the former colleague and I met, she went around in circles about this new business direction. She also brought up a subject not quite related to the business. She also brought up a subject not quite related to the business. I shared some information with her while trying to figure out what was the true objective of the meeting. Finally, I told her that I had to meet my obligations to my current clients and walked her out to her vehicle.
Before her departure, she turned to me and said: “I know you are very busy and your time is limited, but I hope I am able to show you the value of my product. I didn’t get the chance to demonstrate it to you.” It immediately clicked in my head that this was her true objective. It wasn’t that she wanted my advice; she wanted to sell me her product!
As you can imagine, I was a bit annoyed that she approached it in such a deceptive way (in my opinion). I would have appreciated that she was more direct about her true intent. I probably would have listened to her pitch in the first place. Instead she wasted her time and mine.
My fellow business owners guard your time wisely. Ask for an agenda prior to meeting with someone that wishes to conduct business with you. Provide an agenda; if you are the one leading the meeting. Here are five reasons why using an agenda is powerful:
1) Clearly Defines Meeting Objective: When you put an agenda together for a meeting, it is wise to state the purpose of the meeting. I generally put that in the overview section of the agenda. It is the first item I list. This reduces any confusion the meeting attendees may have about the reason for the meeting.
2) Keeps the Meeting On Track: It is so easy for a meeting to spiral out of control and run overtime when you don’t have an agenda. People may agree upon the objective of the meeting, but someone may go off on a tangent that veers the meeting in a different direction. This often results in the objective not being met.
3) Respects People’s Time: Time is precious. If you are a business owner, you may realize that times flies quickly. The day is done in flash. Providing an agenda for your meeting shows the folks attending that you value their time. It also helps the meeting time to be utilized more effectively.
4) Uncovers Any Open/New Item: The agenda should include a question and answer period to ensure that all undisclosed items are discussed. You will find that an open/new item section helps to reduce conducting multiple meetings about the same thing. Generally, clearing the air by using the open discussion segment brings everyone to the same understanding.
5) Schedule Follow Up Meetings or Discussions: It is not often that one closes a deal on the first meeting. Usually a one-meeting close occurs during a commoditized product and/or service sale. For the most part, larger or more complex sales take more than one meeting. If you are just doing business with the person for the first time, you often find that you have to build a relationship with you clients in order to close these types of deals. Putting “Follow-up” on the agenda makes it easier for everyone to coordinate his/her schedule immediately in ordet to set a date for the next conversation.
There are more great reasons for incorporating an agenda into your next meeting. These five methods are the ones that I use to better serve my clients an me. I also suggest that you send the agenda prior to your meeting. This will give the decision maker an opportunity to add necessary items or remove ones that are not relevant.
Again, guard your time wisely. Give your meeting Power. Try these tips when creating your meeting agendas. Let me know how they impact the effectiveness of your meetings. Have a Happy Meeting!
Thank you for reading my post. Please hit the “follow” button at the top of the page. This will allow me continue to write and share with you on a variety of topics.