We all know that getting a prospect to lower the proverbial wall and let us in to actually know them on a personal level is sometimes easier said than done. Meetings in their office on their home court make it very easy for them to make that barrier the size of the Great Wall of China. Think about it, Phone calls, email and a 1 hour meeting once a year in their office. How well do you really get to know that person?
All things being equal people like to do business with their friends, all things not being so equal people still like to do business with their friends. This is where the power of lunch comes in. This is the catalyst & where it all starts. Getting your buyer to go to lunch is an enormous step. You should be asking every time you see them to go grab a bite to eat or get a cup of joe. Sometimes they will take you up on it, sometimes they won’t but you should always be trying.
If you’re fortunate enough to get lunch don’t make the mistake of talking business & don’t schmooze. Schmoozing is a word we have heard over and over. It’s when you talk weather, or politics or even current events. These topics tell you nothing about your prospect on a personal level and they prevent you from really developing that bond. Make it meaningful talk about:
- Likes and dislikes?
- Do they have family or children?
- What are their hobbies?
- Do they have pets?
In most cases at some point you will find something in common. Those are the things that are meaningful and those are the things you need to remember. Write it all down. Remember their kids name or their pets name, an anniversary date or a point of substance and bring it up next time you see them and watch how quickly they smile.
I’ve always had the gift to gab, but I’ve also always found it easy to make friends anywhere. People buy people. And they like buying from people they like to do business with. So getting to know that person and actually being able to call that person a friend rather than a just prospect is a game changer.
This all starts with a lunch. Next thing you know they’re flying to your corporate headquarters to see you. And your meeting is five to six hours instead of one. So don’t diminish the importance of lunch. It’s the bridge from prospect to friend and it’s your starting point. I have found that when a prospect looks at me as a friend it earns a lot of forgiveness when I need it, it buys me that special consideration for a new product that we really want their support on, a little extra time or an extension on a deadline, and a multitude of other things. So ask yourself do you really know your buyers? If not you might just need a lunchbreak.