Don’t you hate it when someone asks you to catch up for coffee. Cause they really want to pick your brain….
Is that cool? When are you free? Have you got an office? Can we get together?
I wanted to bust a myth about getting coffee with people that you’ve never met before. I’m super pumped to dive into this point because I think, historically, I’ve done this a lot, and I was trained to actually do this because I was part of a BNI group in my first few years in business. So let’s together discuss why we should never accept a coffee date ever again unless it’s with a friend or a family member. I love coffee, and I have a big passion about taking time out and going and getting something to eat, nourishing myself, having a coffee with a friend, having a catch up, having a bite with the girls like chatting. This is what coffee catch ups to me are for.
Now let’s start from the beginning. How the hell did I learn that a coffee break was a good time to have a meeting with someone? Again, back in my early days, I was in a networking group called BNI up at Chatswood (Sydney). As part of the curriculum you would get around to all the members in the BNI group (a one-on-one) and share a coffee meeting. You’d get to know their business in an hour so you could then refer business on.
I realised BNI was a horrible way to outsource the sales section of the business – because you’re relying on a sales team that has no idea what you do.
If you actually want to have control of your business and generate recurring sales and have a sales strategy, then having coffee with people should not be part of that strategy because literally I’m handing over the power to that other person so that they can go and find a sale for me.
The big issue here is that that person should be busy working on their business and finding sales for their business. Now, great, sure. I’ve definitely got some strategic partnerships, and those partnerships do a bit of back and forth business but really that is not the life blood of my entire business operation here. Knowing what I know now, every time someone asks me for coffee, my response is armed like a muscle.
I have a strategic bunch of questions that I like to ask someone just to make sure that we set an agenda and purpose for the meeting. Obviously you do need to meet with businesses here and there if that’s part of your sales process, and so you should have an agenda that you’re going to go through in that meeting.
“Am I right for you? Are you right for me? Okay, let’s do business.” Now that is a strategic coffee meeting.
How do you turn someone down politely when they’re asking you for coffee?
“Hey, we should go to coffee. I’d love to catch up.”
I respond with:
“Hi, so and so, I love that you’ve asked me for coffee, but I’m working on some really big projects for the next couple of months, so I can only afford to meet with friends and family and clients.”
“Let’s chat here and see where it goes.”
That way, you’ve invited them to still chat with you if that’s what you want. Or of course, you can invite them into a sales funnel so that they fall into the funnel anyway. Like for example,
“Listen to my podcast” or “You could join my free Facebook group…” or “If you’re ready to THRIVE, let’s book in a call here…”
Five takeaways for you for this episode.
- Do not go to coffee without an agenda. If you you’re going to go to coffee with someone, or you’re going to have a strategy, a client meeting, etc, whatever you want to call it. If you’re going to have a meeting with someone, have an agenda and state that agenda as soon as you sit down and get comfortable. “Hey so and so, you’re here, I’m here, this is what we’re going to do. This is what we want to get. This is how long we’ve got. Does that work for you?” Yes. No. Just clearly set the agenda for the meeting.
- Secondly, for every hour that you spend having coffee with someone, that was the wrong person, that could have been an hour that you would have spent in the business doing business development. Because every moment that you have that you are just twiddling your thumbs here sitting in the office should be used on Biz Dev. Okay?
- Thirdly, if you feel like you’ve got nothing to do, you’ve got no sales and you feel obliged to go to these meetings with nobody’s and hope that something comes out of it. Stop and do marketing. If you don’t know what to do with this ‘marketing time, build a marketing plan. Think about the 10 problems that your ideal customer has that you have the perfect product or solution for. Think of 10, and then think of 10 headlines to go with those 10 problems. And then think about how to structure a blog article or a piece of content or just something that you can put out there into the marketplace. Because the more that you amplify your message and you articulate the problem that your ideal customer has, the more your customer will lean in and engage with you.
- There are no sales without marketing. Otherwise, just get on the phone and do cold-calling. That’s just hard sales. Do not just go to coffee for the sake of going to coffee. You owe it to your business to only have coffee with yourself.
- Sometimes having coffee with someone when you’ve briefed them is the right thing to do. I’m not saying never have coffee ever again, but make sure that before you do you set a clear agenda. I’m pretty sure I’ve said agenda about 15,000 times in this episode, so that’s the last time I’m saying agenda.
All right guys that’s how I wrap this thing up.
If you want to know more then lean in, I run an amazing Facebook group with hundreds of creatives. Jump in, I’m in there interacting, so you can ask me any direct questions, and I will happily answer them. And of course, the entire design, digital creative community is in there too. All righty, until next time.
GO Nail that Niche!