For as far back as I can remember, I almost always met clients and prospects in their offices. It just seemed to be the way things were most often done. It was convenient for them, and the onus always seemed to be on the one doing the selling to be the one to travel.
After a few years, the more confident I got, the more creative I got when it came to seeing my clients face to face. I decided early on that I could always try different things, and see what the reaction would be. As the old saying goes, “If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.”
So, I thought I would share with you all some ideas to engage, meet with, entertain, or otherwise interact with your clients and prospects face to face. Some of these are pretty tried and true, but with perhaps a fresh new twist to them. Others, you may have never thought of, and some, you might think you would never try yourself.
Participatory Sporting Events. People have probably been taking clients golfing since golf was invented, but not everyone plays. But what about bowling? I played in a league that was made up almost exclusively with people from one of my biggest target vertical markets, and the contacts I made there and the entertainment opportunities were built in. Are there any activities in your area that are more affordable, more accessible and more universally appealing?
Sporting events to watch. Again, many big companies regularly take clients to ball games of all sorts, but not all companies can afford a skybox for a major league game. Even individual tickets can be out of the budget for many companies out there. There are lots of other sports events out there that might be more in keeping with your entertainment budget. Roller Derby, Lacrosse and soccer are just a few examples of events that might be happening in your area. Check your local papers, social media or ask a friend what is happening out there that might be entertaining for you and your clients.
Get Them Outside. Whether a picnic lunch, an ice cream truck, or a walk around the park, there is a lot of evidence out there that being outside has a lot of health and mental benefits. What a great way to engage with someone and give him/her a very different experience compared to the usual meeting indoors in their office.
Trade Shows, conferences or networking events. Whether your trade show or theirs, there can be many social opportunities surrounding these kinds of events. It is always such a unique opportunity to share a drink, a cup of coffee or a bite to eat. I am not suggesting that you attempt to engage with them on the floor of their own trade show. For that time, you need to give them the space to do the job they are there to do. There are often happy hours, dinners and other networking events that happen though, and those are the great times to meet and talk more casually. This is more about relationship building though. No hard selling please.
Something even MORE alternative. There are so many new trends today. Paint and Sip events, cooking classes, food truck festivals, storytelling events. Whether you bring the party to them or take them out to one of these types, listen to your contact. Gather information about their interests and then figure out what you think they would be open to. You have nothing to lose.
The key takeaway there is this – You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by being unique. When you give your client or prospect a new experience, they will remember it. It can leave a lasting impression. And the extent to which you elevate the relationship in closeness can be very valuable.
What is the most unique way you have met with a client or prospect? Would you or have you ever tried any of these or something else?
As a sales and marketing coach and consultant at Success In Print, Kelly Mallozzi advocates for graphic arts companies to start a revolution and fight to keep print relevant. She may be irreverent, but what she lacks in convention, she makes up for in smart-assery.