Eat your way to success? This idea is not as ridiculous as it sounds.
People usually eat three meals a day, and these occasions offer you a great opportunity to leverage your networks.
You could potentially meet with 15 clients in a work week, based on arranging breakfast, lunch and dinner with a different contact. Clearly, this would be overkill, but committing yourself to one engagement a day will have a dramatic impact on the amount of new work you can generate.
That’s up to 250 potential new sources of work for you, each year.
Don’t eat lunch alone
I have heard of rainmakers who never eat lunch alone. Founder of multinational management consulting firm McKinsey, James O. McKinsey, claimed that he ate ‘all his lunches, half of his breakfasts, and a third of his dinners with prospective clients’ (according to Duff McDonald’s book, The Firm).
Good things tend to happen when you talk to people face-to-face. It’s difficult to build meaningful, quality relationships from behind your desk.
My experience is that adding at least two meetings to your weekly schedule – with the right connections – will almost guarantee you double digit revenue growth, even if you did little else.
Choosing who to lunch with
If this seems daunting, you could start by networking with people in your own firm to gain confidence, and also to maximise potential cross-selling opportunities.
Excellent external candidates for lunch meetings are clients you have not seen for a while, current clients, potential clients, top clients, significant influencers, referral sources, and strategic alliance partners.
Use the opportunities to increase referrals from clients and joint venture partners, cross-sell, and develop case studies and source testimonials from engaged clients.
To ensure that both you and the individuals with whom you meet gain maximum benefit from the time spent together, I would strongly advise you prepare in advance for your meeting.
Have a full understanding of, and be able to talk about, the following:
Why people need your services at all, and why they should choose you now rather than wait – remember that inertia, not another service provider, is often your largest competitor within the professional services arena.
What results you deliver to your clients (rather than a list of services you offer).
How you are different to your competitors.
What areas you can be considered an expert in.
Specific businesses and individuals you would like an introduction to.
The types of situations people find themselves in where a referral to you would be highly relevant and useful.
How you would like to be introduced.
Networks you have connections to that could be useful to your guest.
Imagine how different your firm (and bank balance) might be if each of the important people in your organisation had just 100 more ‘business’ meetings this year than they did last year (that’s only 2 extra meetings a week)?
Our one-hour workshop, “Maximising Networking Events” will show you how to make the most of networking events to attract new business contacts and referrers.