Nobody would argue that building a little rapport with a buyer at the beginning of a meeting is a great way to get things started. However, people do have different ideas about how to best go about building rapport.
During my days as an insurance broker I learned my lessons the hard way.
Early in my career, I had an initial meeting with a buyer who happened to be the CFO of a posh mid-sized law firm who was looking for some additional Life and Disability Insurance. As I entered his office I noticed a picture of a foursome on the first tee at Pebble Beach with him right in the middle.
I immediately jumped into a conversation about handicaps, this course and that course and who is going to take this year’s Green Jacket. The buyer immediately perked up and engaged in a lively conversation. This went on for a good ten minutes, and I thought to myself, “Wow! This meeting is off to a great start.” I noticed him glance at his watch and I politely asked him how he was doing for time. Beads of sweat began to form on my upper lip as he told me he had a conference call in 20 minutes.
Does this scenario sound familiar? While discussing the finer points of a golf game is fine, we need to move from the Preliminary Pleasantries into a business conversation within a few minutes of sitting down. A great way to transition into a business conversation is using the Agenda Statement. This 45-second piece of magic lets your buyer know you are prepared, professional, and have done this before. There are four parts to the Agenda Statement:
- State the purpose of the meeting. A brief sentence or two that describes why you are meeting with the buyer.
- Briefly outline what you will cover.
- Gain buyer’s input on agenda. Ask the buyer if they would like to add anything to the agenda
- Transition to first agenda item.
Read more about the Agenda Statement by downloading the Silver Bullet Selling eBook.