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What to Say When You Find Potential Clients

January 4, 2010

1. Be ready to initiate the conversation with something provocative and believable. The purpose here is to start a conversation. Kick it off with something compelling for your listener. I recently met the CEO of a $100m company who told me his organization was doing well, he didn’t need anything fixed. I said, I know three ways you can raise the bar on your current performance. I did, too, because I have given this serious thought. We made an appointment within five minutes to discuss at his office.

2. As soon as you initiate, switch to active listening. Ask questions. Follow the value. Challenge assumptions. Work together with your potential client to uncover something that is worth pursuing. This is the beginning of your relationship – get used to partnering and keeping a laser focus on what is most important.

3. Make visible the value you are providing with a single conversation. Repeat back what you have learned. Identify progress as it is made. Summarize. You want this person to say, If this person can do this with one conversation, imagine what it would be like to work with them!

4. End with a compelling wrap-up and an appointment. State what exactly is to be gained by your further interaction, and set a date for follow-up. I might say, We have identified a way to accelerate your revenue uptake in 2010. Let’s set a time to hammer out the details and I can get a proposal to you within 24 hours. How is Monday before lunch or Wednesday afternoon?

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