First impressions are huge. If you mess up in the first few minutes you're in a meeting with a new prospect, you may set yourself up for hours of unpaid consulting. So how do we avoid that type of situation?
Someone recently shared with me two different scenarios he had been through that help illustrate this point.
In one situation, it took him around an hour to find out that a prospect wasn't actually interested in using him. They already knew who they were going to use, they'd already agreed to a price, but because of internal policies and procedures, they needed additional quotes.
In the other situation, he was able to figure out the person was in an identical situation in seven minutes! They also knew the vendor they were going to use, had a price they'd agreed to, but still had to get some quotes to show that what they were getting was a good deal.
Which of those situations would you rather be in? Would you rather it take an hour to find out you're just a quote? Or seven minutes?
There are a couple key concepts you have to keep in mind to avoid screwing up the first few minutes.
First, you have to know what you're looking for. It goes back to knowing your ideal prospect and what they look like. If you don't know what you're looking for, how do you know if this person is it?
Second, you have to know what you're not looking for. In other words, you have to qualify your prospects by attempting to disqualify them. If you don't know what red flags to look for, you can get yourself into serious trouble. You want to find those quickly.
You have to know and really understand your needs. That's the only way you can determine if the meeting is even a good use of your time, energy and resources.