The mistake: Trying to go all the way on the first date.

Summary:

You get the meeting, it’s in the diary, and you walk in there with your big pitch book. You’re excited, maybe a little bit nervous. Gotta land this client!

But slow down, cowboy! You wouldn’t realistically expect to go all the way on a first date, and you’re not going to go all the way here, either. Cover your main two or three points, and then get out. It’s perfectly fine to leave some questions unanswered.

Practice it in front of the mirror until you are blue in the face: “Can we come back to this? I’m terribly sorry, but I don’t want to be late for my next meeting” (say it even if you don’t have a next meeting).

Our moms said it best when they told us growing up, “Leave them wanting more.”

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The full audio:

Transcript of the full audio:

Matt:

Shall we move on to point number three, or do you want to dive into this a little bit more?

Baldwin:

Again, I think we covered it. I think you can get really creative on how to merge that followup with the learning curve. The good thing is it’s a lot more fun and a lot more inspiring to do than just having to chase down prospective investors to see if they’re ready to write the ticket. If you’re willing to play with it, it makes your job as a salesperson a lot more fun.

Matt: True, true. How about point number three? What’s on your mind?

Baldwin:

I think we sort of spoke about that in our previous conversation about not being aware of the client journey and how we can follow-up merging that with the learning curve. Managers want to go all the way on the first date.

You get that meeting, it’s in the diary, and you walk in there with your big pitch book. Somehow in a lot of manager’s mindset it’s like the successful meeting is where you got to tell them the full story, where no stone was left unturned.

I think that comes from a time where we didn’t all have all the communication tools that we have today, and you definitely got less of an opportunity to communicate with these people. The remnant of that is that we still sometimes fall into that mindset of having to go all the way on that first date.

I think a good first meeting should be very much like a trailer, or the first episode of a series. A good first meeting, actually it’s fine to leave certain questions unanswered. It, again, creates that sort of a cliffhanger or Inception effect, where that prospective investor will want to know a bit more.

I’m not speaking about trying to manipulate them or anything like that. It’s just being aware that they are just human beings who have a lot on their plate. You probably want to make things a little bit more digestible for them.

A good way to do that is by first, before you actually engage with a new prospect, have a script that you can follow. If they keep on asking you questions, that’s obviously great.

It’s also I think absolutely fine to say, “Can we cover this next time? I’m afraid I have to get to another meeting.” That works like gold. If you’re doing it right, it actually should be true. If you’re a well-organized salesperson or a fund manager, it means that you have slots in your week where you do meetings. It’s fine to be able with a straight face to say, “Can we come back on this? I’m terribly sorry, but I really shouldn’t be late for my next meeting.” That’s a very elegant way to do this.

Matt:

When you say something like that, basically “we’ve got to wrap up here because I have to move onto my next meeting.” When you do something like that, does it create some sort of emotional effect in the audience’s mind?

Baldwin:

It depends. Let’s say you’ve come in to do the whole story, and then you realize you’ve been ranting too much and there’s not enough time and you abruptly have to end that. That’s going to be irritating for both sides because that’s just very clumsy. That’s why it’s so important to have a script. In the first meeting, what are the two or three most important things that this person should really know about it? What distinguishes us? Just cover that.

Then if that was your agenda and you’ve been able to deliver that, then you can transition out of that meeting by saying, “I hope this makes sense. We’d love to tell you more, but the truth is that we really have to get to another meeting on time. I hope we can continue this conversation.” That’s a very elegant way to segue out of it, right?

Matt:

Yeah. If you segue out of it that way, what are some good candidates for things to leave them hanging on, questions to leave unanswered? What are some good candidates for that?

Baldwin:

It depends on a case by case. If you have a special investment process that distinguishes you, I think one of the nice things that you can do is just give them a heads up of why it’s so special and then maybe leave that hanging as to exactly why, to get into more detail. You have take a close look at what your USP really is and then play it on that.

In the last few years, I’ve found most of my inspiration for anything I do marketing-wise in the entertainment industry, in the movie industry, because they’re so good at keeping our attention. I think you have to think of it as a trailer. The trailer gives you enough information for you to make up your mind whether this is going to be a movie that you want to see or not. It has all the ingredients more or less on the table. You just don’t know exactly what they taste like yet, but they look appealing. The same is true for editors as well, when they’re going to publish a new book. They make sure that there’s enough teaser content out there to make you really want to go and pick it up.

I think you have to think about it like that. Give them a sort of hint of there’s a lot more where this came from. Another thing about wanting to go all the way on the first date is also the flawed … We’re going to speak about that in another conversation more in depth, but it’s where you have a bit of a scarcity mentality.

You think, “Anybody I meet with, I should try to convert into a client.” Whereas that first meeting should also be a qualifying exercise, where both sides – both you and the investor – should figure out “is there a match here?” If this were Tinder, whether you swipe left or right I guess it would be. That’s what that first meeting should be.

About Matt Krause

Matt began his professional life managing inventory levels for wholesale import companies and forecasting labor costs for national retail chains. Since 2006, he has been teaching professionals how to present themselves and their companies better. His clients work for companies like Citibank, Microsoft, 3M, P&G, and HP.