What's Your Step #2?


Ian Brodie

Ian Brodie

Ian Brodie teaches consultants, coaches and other professionals to attract and win their ideal clients by becoming seen as authorities in their field.


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Selling Professional Services

What's Your Step #2?

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Keep Out!Would you like to grab a coffee some time to discuss how we might be able to help each other out?


How about we meet up and we can talk about how we might be able to support your business?


Could I schedule a short meeting with you where we can find out more about your business and see if some of our services might be valuable to you?


Would you be open to a short meeting to explore your business challenges and how our solutions could help?

No, no, no.

Maybe I'm getting grumpier in my old age, but I just don't want to meet people for sales meetings any more. Nor do I want to have a coffee with potential partners who might be able to work with me some indeterminate time down the line. Nor do I want to discuss who I know that might be helpful for your business and vice versa, thank you very much.

Now I might say yes to some of these out of politeness to someone I know or as a favour.

But I don't really want to have these meetings.

Maybe you're a bit like me too. I'm desperately short of time. And my business is doing very well – so I have no desperate issue to solve that will spur me to have a meeting with someone who could help.

I don't want to have these meetings, because to be frank, I get no immediate value from them.

Telling you about my business so you can craft a solution to a problem I don't think I have doesn't do it for me. Nor does a plesant coffee where we discuss how we might help each other some time in the future.

I need value now. Instant gratification if you will.

If I'm going to give up my most precious and scarce asset, my time, then nowadays I'm only going to do it if I can see immediate benefit for me.

It doesn't have to be money in my pocket right now. In fact, I'm even willing to pay to go to events where I learn something important. And I'll spend an hour or longer on a webinar if I think it's going to teach me something valuable.

But an “initial meeting” where we just talk about my business in the hope you'll be able to come up with something that will help me (for a price, of course). No way.

And that's why I ask: “what's your step #2?”

Step #1 is easy. Step #1 is that initial connection with a potential client or referrer. You go networking and meet people. You send them a letter. You ask to connect on Linkedin. You get a referral from a mutual acquaintance. They visit your website.

We know how to do Step #1.

But what do you do next? How do you really engage with them?

What seems like a few short years ago, people were much more willing to have these exploratory initial meetings. If a consultant sounds sensible on the phone and they've done good work for similar companies to mine, it was worth spending an hour with them to see if they had anything of value.

I don't have that hour today. I need to know I'm going to get something of value in the actual meeting.

So Step #2s that work to get me engaged with you today are things like:

  • Inviting me to a seminar you're running on a topic of interest to me
  • Offering to share some benchmarking information on what my competitors are doing in a 1-1 meeting
  • Sending me a report or video with ideas I can immediatley apply to improve my business
  • Inviting me to a webinar where you show me how to do something I'm struggling with right now

In other words, you need a Step #2 that actually adds value to me right away.

I suspect it's the same for your clients. You need a Step #2 that adds value to them right away.

‘cos if all you have as Step #2 is an exploratory or sales meeting – we're not going to show up.

*** By the way – if you liked this post – do me a favour and tweet it or like it – or better still, add your comment


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Ian Brodie

Ian Brodie

Ian Brodie teaches consultants, coaches and other professionals to attract and win their ideal clients by becoming seen as authorities in their field.

  • user

    AUTHOR mark nugent

    Posted on 6:16 am March 8, 2011.

    You’re definately getting grumpier, that’s for sure.

    So am I. But the real reason I swerve all these requests is because when you have your own plan for your business you either have the relationships you need or you know which ones you want to develop so there’s really very little place for unsolicited overtures from others.

    Our dear leader, David Cameron, has declared war on the enemies of enterprise. I wonder if he meant Starbucks?

  • user

    AUTHOR Gleny

    Posted on 9:03 am March 8, 2011.

    Hi Mark. I am curious. Would Ian’s suggestions for step 2 work with you? If not, what would work with you? How do new relationships, that might be of mutual benefit, ever start?

  • user

    AUTHOR Barbara Walters Price

    Posted on 7:18 pm March 10, 2011.

    Ian – this is great stuff and oh so true in our efforts. In our business valuation firm, we always try to try to meet potential referral sources whenever our fee-earners are traveling on business (i.e., if they are traveling to Chicago to see a client, we’ll try to build in some time for them to meet 1 or 2 people while there). Even when we have warm introductions (via a current referral source or client), it is still incredibly difficult to get the meeting. This certainly wasn’t the case 10 years ago, or even 5.

    Your Step 2 ideas are great but they won’t always work for us. Yet the concept is golden. We just need to figure out what will.

    Thanks for the insight!

  • user

    AUTHOR Ron Tester

    Posted on 5:55 am October 3, 2012.

    Ian: Thought provoking post, as usual. I like Seth Godin’s approach in Permission Marketing. As a business owner, I don’t want to be interrupted. If I want something, I go to my personal connections, my social network sites or google it. That’s how I found you, and that’s how I find most everything now. So my step #2 would be to stop interrupting people, keep creating and providing great content that is readily available and make plenty of offers proportionate to the trust I have earned. That way, when the time is right and you come looking for me, you can find me and explore who I am and what I do in a way that feels right/comfortable for you. As everyone knows, nothing works all the time–it’s a numbers game. But the numbers can be on my side if I persist in treating you like you want to be treated.

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