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Framing Initial Meetings

Framing Initial Meetings

Here are some questions to ask yourself which can determine whether you have an opportunity to develop a relationship rapidly or whether you have to reeducate the buyer. If you’re not certain or too anxious to “deliver” your pitch, step back and evaluate what’s actually happening. The answers to the questions are obvious. The more the buyer stands at “arm’s length” and treats you as a subordinate or vender, the more educating and “pushback” are necessary. The more the buyer sees you as a peer and potential partner, the more rapidly you can develop a trusting relationship.

• Does the buyer sit across the desk or invite you to more comfortable seating?
• Does the buyer allow interruptions or provide you with undisturbed time?
• Do you get down to business within 60 seconds or take time getting to know each other?
• Does the buyer dictate an alternative or ask for your advice and counsel?
• Are you addressed as a vender or a peer?
• Does the buyer accept “pushback” and contrary views?
• Does the buyer attempt to refer you to a subordinate, e.g., human resources?
• Is the buyer amenable to either another meeting or a proposal?
• Are you provided the duration of time promised?
• Is there a definitive next step agreed upon with date and time?
• Does the buyer respond promptly to agreed upon follow-up?

You control these dynamics if you evaluate what’s occurring and react appropriately. Otherwise, you’re just a jellyfish floating with the tides and winds.

© Alan Weiss 2007. All rights reserved.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

Comments: 1

  • Skip Weisman

    September 15, 2007


    Upon returning from the Mentor Summit I had a meeting with an EB and during our conversation I did something I never would have thought of doing before joining the Mentor Program. I pushed back in a way that left him speechless.

    My prospect literally sat there, with his jaw open for what seemed like 10-minutes but was more like 1-2 minutes. I forced myself to maintain the silence. It was very difficult not to fill it, but I feel like it did make a powerful point.

    The issue was that he was assuming an employee wanted something for his future because he thought he knew him well after working with him closely for the last 15 years. But since he had already admitted to an ineffective formal performance review process, preferring a more ‘informal’ process, the best he could come up with was “I think he wants this, he should want this, if I were him I would want this.”

    To which I said, “well does he or doesn’t he want it, you are uncertain? The two of you have worked together for 15 years and you don’t know for sure?”

    We ran out of time for me to get to OMV but were able to schedule a follow up for this coming Wednesday to go deeper into how I can help. I’m learning more and more how powerful push back at the right times can work.

    I’m no longer “just a jellyfish floating with the tides and winds.”


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