The meeting dilemma
Updated: Jun 12, 2019
We are a start-up, aged just over six months. There’s passion running through our veins combined with excitement for every client we get to work with. Being young also makes us endlessly curious, and like any one else on Earth we turn to the wise tool at our disposal — Google.
The all knowing archive of knowledge should solve our every dilemma, right? So what happens when you ask
‘Why do clients ask for a meeting with service providers even without a need for said service?’
Here are the hits:
1. How to say no to customers without making them angry
2. Stop trying to delight your customers
3. Meeting customers’ expectations
4. 12 rules for great customer meetings
5. Customers want more: 5 new expectations you must meet now
6. 10 Things Every Customer WantsKnow
7. What Your Customers Want Before They Do
It is safe to state that our question remains unanswered, which leads to the assumption that the psyche behind unproductive meeting requests has yet to be addressed.
In short, there is no valuable information that can give clarity on why one would need to invest time to explore availing an service, without a valid need for the said service.
Ideally meetings have the purpose of discussing client requirements and how the service provider aims to fulfil the requirements. Depending on the kind of clients, the requirements would vary in specificity and complexity. So, yes, meetings are sometimes pivotal to get a grasp of the project in its entirety.
But the very action of meeting is a major investment for both parties involved.
Taking the city of Mumbai into consideration, a scheduled morning meeting involves at least a three to six hour commitment including travelling and meeting time with no confirmation of a done deal.
In such a scenario a service provider, or an agency like ours would prefer to have at least legitimate requirements from the clients asking to meet us; or end up wasting six hours or more over something intangible.
Since lists are pivotal to analysing any dilemma, here is a list of pros and cons of setting up a meeting
You can start to build a connection with the client.Deep dive into the project, requirements, roadmap etc. and explain the client your process thoroughly.Meeting face to face, you’d be able to interpret the visual cues while talking to the other person and understand if the client is eager to work with you or not. This, you can’t do in texts/email as there are no audio/visual cues.
You might be losing time and money if this lead doesn’t convert into a real client
A lot of time goes into prepping up, travelling and then actually doing the meeting. If you are a small operation, all your work comes to a halt.
Considering that the pros outweigh the cons, there arises a compelling argument that meetings are in fact better for business, than not. However, objectively all the pros point to having meetings with a client who has actual requirements, than one who demands for a meeting before revealing any or all information.
In the real world, more often than not we come across clients in the second category. The ones who ask to meet on a whim, with no prior information whatsoever. However, in the world where time is money it only makes sense to deny such a client — tactfully
But before we suggest said tactical methods, following is an ideal checklist to cross off from the service provider/consultants end that could result in a successful meeting for both parties involved.
Budget — Mutual agreement on the budget is of utmost importance to converting a lead to a prospective client.
Authority — It is ideal to have interactions with the decision maker of a project to enable creation of an optimal solution to the client needs at the earliest.
Need — It goes without saying that clarity on the work at hand is the bridge to a successful collaboration.
Timing — An agreement on the project timeline established at the beginning of any project would work out best for both parties involved.
The answers given with respect to these questions helps the service provider/consultant establish the need for a meeting.
However, the world being the funny place it is, will also lead you to clients who will bounce away from answering these very valid queries you may have.
Here is where we introduce a tactical route you could take, that could end in a positive outcome for both the client and the service provider/consultant.
Ask for a virtual meeting — It’s the age of artificial intelligence, this should be a mandatory option.
Come to me — Request the client to visit you instead of you going there. This is a win win for both. You save your time and they get their meeting.
Negotiate a deal before you meet — Try and negotiate your way into closing the deal before you do a meeting once you know the client is interested in working with you.
We wont pretend and let you believe that these are absolute answers to the question of meeting dilemmas, but so far, these methods have worked out in the best way for us.
Do let us know if you’d like to, you know, meet…? 😉