Getting a YES: How to Prep, Pitch, Persuade, and Close | Tom Goodwin | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Getting a YES: How to Prep, Pitch, Persuade, and Close

teacher avatar Tom Goodwin, Speaker and Writer

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

In today's world, everything is sales. From job interviews to funding your business, learn how to slice through the noise to get the results you're looking for.

Join Innovation Expert Tom Goodwin as he shares his tried-and-true technique for crafting the perfect pitch. From first steps to final close, you'll discover how to form connections that matter from the best in the business. Packed with tips and tactics in every lesson, key lessons include:

  • Crafting emails that actually get a response
  • The right way to host face-to-face meetings
  • Finding the person with the power to say "yes"
  • When and how to follow up

Plus, Tom shares dozens of hard-won secrets of the trade, from the best time of year to contact a potential buyer to where to sit in a conference room meeting. After taking this class, you'll know exactly how to get the "yes" you're looking for, allowing you to jumpstart conversations, build important relationships, and completely transform your career.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Tom Goodwin

Speaker and Writer


Tom Goodwin is the Head of Innovation at Zenith agency and a top voice in marketing on LinkedIn with 700k+ followers. He's known as an industry provocateur and trends expert who gives his take on where marketing and technology are heading. 

See full profile

Level: All Levels

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: I'm Tom Goodwin, the head of innovation Zenith Media in the USA. I think pitching is a fundamental aspect of what it's like to be a human being. We may presume that salesmanship is a skill for those in sales. Actually, is a fundamental part of just being alive today. Whether as a first date, whether it's getting a job interview, whether it's pitching your story to a journalist, everything that we do involves selling ourselves in one way or another. So, in this class, I'm going to cover how to pitch successfully and brilliantly, how to do research, how to understand the primary motivation that people have. I'm excited to teach this class, because quite honestly I experienced so many bad pitches, but I want to help people connect with people like me. I wake up every day to hundreds of pretty awfully concocted emails, I get several cold calls a day from people that really don't understand what my job is. So, it's actually really important for me to help people connect with people who have roles like me. Because they're going to save us all time in the long run. I'm here to help, the only question, is do you have any emails when we can check? I'm here to help keep you advice in all stages of the process. I think successful pitching if the bedrock of a fundamental and brilliant career. When you can sell to people, when you know what motivates them, when you know how to make a difference, it really will propel every aspect of your career to great new heights. I'm really glad you going to class. Let's get going. 2. The Importance of Pitching: So, what is pitch? A pitch pretty much is any form of written, or verbal, or video content that you produce, or that you say, or that you send on in order to bring about a favorable outcome. A favorable outcome is pretty much what you need to happen next. It could be anything, it could be someone replying to an email to let you know the person that you need to speak to. It could be someone signing a big check with your name on it. A fable outcome is basically a step along that journey. Sometimes they're big leaps, sometimes they're small, sometimes they feel successful, sometimes you realizing retrospect, how useful information was. We tend to be quite impatient in life. We think that every meeting must lead to a handshake or agreement, actually just finding out more about someone's situation, finding out more about who you need to speak to, these are all favorable outcomes that we need to keep in mind. So, my inbox every day is full of a whole array of different people asking me to do different things. It could be start ups with the technology product, they're trying to get my company to buy. They could be PR agents these they're trying to get me to write about a new form of technology or about their client. The array of pitches that I get every day is extraordinarily wise and each person uses different techniques and tactics to try and get me to do something about them. For me this huge variety of different natures of pitches and people want different outcomes, I notice one main commonality. The real importance of surgically saying the right thing to the right person at the right time. Pretty much 95 percent of the successful pitch is actually done behind the scenes. It's the research, it's the listening, it's the empathy that you need to have in order to know precisely what you need to say to someone to bring about the result that you want. It doesn't feel like a very direct selling process. We presume somehow in our nature that selling is about talking, it's about ritually communicating with people. It's about saying everything that someone wants to hear. This is plain nonsense. It's really about saying specifically the thing that the person needs to hear, that's going to bring most directly the outcome that you need. It's not about saying a lot. It's about saying the right thing. So, we now live in an age where the incremental cost of reaching more people is basically zero. You can now send an email to 30,000 people in one go. What that means is that most people are able to buy a product or service are more inundated with inbound messages than ever before. This means that your pitch has to be clear, it has to be concise, it has to be quick. People will routinely delete emails within about half a second of receiving them, if it is not hitting the right spot immediately. 3. Step One: Research: So, successful research is what builds a foundation for any successful pitch, and I know there's no long research you needs to do. The first step is to really understand precisely what the end goal is that you have in mind. What are you actually trying to accomplish? For most people it will be to understand the specific person they need to speak to, what precisely it is that you want them to do for you? And to know exactly what it is that you need to say to them to bring about that outcome? Are you trying to get a job? Are you trying to get funding? Is someone trying to buy your product or service? Are you trying to get people to like you? Are you trying to build a reputation? Every single sales process starts with the ends in mind. So, when you have this precise end goal in mind, the next step is to do the research that you need to do in order to bring about that outcome. Do general research on the category, the company, the people, the structures, the process, the mission statements. It really is a wide ranging exercise where you're trying to absorb as much information as possible and get a completely clear picture on the entire environment in which that company or person operates. This process is best done a little bit like a detective. You really need to sniff out every single piece of information you can. It may be desk research, going on company websites, it may be looking at Wikipedia, it may be bringing about every single resource that you can in order to understand the most realistic picture possible. That research may involve more physical research, it may involve going to people's businesses, looking at the lobbies that companies have, it may involve going to conferences listening to some of the key presentations from key members of staff. A key secret weapon within the research process, is to really get to grips with the personality behind the scenes. So, using Google and other search engines, find out are they on a local cricket team, are they part of the school's board of directors, have they just moved to the area, have they just got divorced? Ultimately, by being a detective and really understanding the person behind the role, that's where success is most likely to come from. The beautiful thing about the research stage is you can get very imaginative, you can get very creative, you can get very cunning. So, how can you fully immerse yourself in a category or business, and understand the real insights behind the decisions they make and why they make them. So, when you understand the bigger picture, when you understand some of the key dynamics, the key characters, the key industries, the key companies in the space, you then need to delve deeper into understanding more. A key way to do this is to meet with people, to host informational interviews, and to really delve deeply into some other unknown aspects of any industry. In order to secure those informational interviews, you're going to need to know some stuff, you're going to need to know the right people to meet with, what you need to say to those people to secure their time, you need to know what you're trying to get from them as well. So, the primary step in research is to find enough to undertake the secondary research. Again, it's important to realize quite how important all this research is. This isn't something to undertake lightly. This isn't something to scrimp and save on. This should be a key principle of any successful sales pitch. In fact, 95 percent of your time should probably be spent at this stage. Even securing the informational interviews themselves requires some other pitch. You're asking for time in people's busy schedules. Understanding enough about what you need to know, being precise about what you're trying to get from people, and being transparent upfront is a key way to secure these interviews. Every person will have a different tool or technique they use to gather and store this information. Some people may use software like Evernote, other people may keep a word document, other people may save files and folders to bookmarks. I think the important thing is that everyone finds their own way to deal with this information. Most of the time the key part of research is building up enough research and data that you're able to drill it down into key insights. So, actually knowing everything, and having everything to hand is less important than what you're able to really just [inaudible]. One of the hardest words to define as an insight, I think in a way it's a piece of knowledge or information that really makes you sit up straight, it's something that when you find you realize it unlocks many key opportunities. So, it's not so much the case that we need to worry about. What is an insight, and what isn't? We just need to make sure that we find key nuggets of information that bring about "Aha" moment in the process. Some examples maybe finding out that the person that you thought you needed to sell to is about to leave the company, and maybe to find out the role and limit of someone is actually vastly different to what you understood it to be, and maybe to understand a key problem that a company faces which is not particularly well articulated. It might be to establish a key opportunity or a personal interest that someone has that again is not easy to find. The amazing thing about an insight is when you find it, it makes you feel very excited. You suddenly realize that you have the key to unlock specific door and that's what a successful sales pitch is all about. By the end of the reset process, there are a few key questions that you should be able to answer as a result of this research. One of those may be established the main key decision makers. Who is it that you ultimately need to speak to in order to get the result that you most need? Everyone is driven by a different primary motive. Some people have huge egos to serve, some people are trying to make a difference, some people trying to feel proud of what they've accomplished, some people are trying to avoid getting fired, some people are trying to reduce risk whenever they can and it's those primary motivations that we always need to be speaking to. Another key factor to establish is precisely what environment they're working in. Not only the physicality of the building and the culture of a company, but also the way that a company makes decisions. Does it move quickly, does it avoid risk, is it there to make the most of every new opportunity that comes along, does it reward success? It's these key factors that we need to understand whenever we're pitching to anyone. There'll be a key part in the research process where you're aware that you're ready to take the first step. You might not know the final end person that's going to be the key decision maker. Do you a pretty good idea of the first and the the next person to speak to? That's when the pitch process really begins. My inbox each day is riddled with emails that clearly are from people that have never read anything I've written, they've never understood my role, they've never been to my website, and that strikes me as just impoliteness and laziness in the modern age. At the opposite end of the spectrum, a big pitch winning millions of dollars may actually require several weeks of research. Research is a bit like building incredible foundations for an ultra tall skyscraper. They may not look impressive, they may not feel like progress, those looking from afar may not realize that you've undertaken vital work, but it's absolutely essential for any building, and it's absolutely essential for any pitch process. So, a multi million dollar pitch process where perhaps the sales process may last a year, may actually require an equal amount of time spent on the research phase and it won't feel great, but it's going to be essential for the journey ahead. There's not necessarily an "Aha" moment in the research phase, when you realize that you're ready to move on to the next phase, that won't probably be a clear moment where you realize you're ready to make that leap. But at some point, you'll realize that research starts to blend into an outreach process. Perhaps you've had informational interviews with people close to the people that you need to speak to. Perhaps you even met people that ultimately you will be pitching to, but you'll feel your way through it, you'll feel impatient, you'll feel ready to say things, you'll feel like you're not vulnerable in conversations with these people, and it's at that moment where you feel that you're ready to make the next step. So, you've done the research, you know what you're talking about, you don't feel vulnerable, you feel confident to make the next move. And the next step is the most exhilarating part of the process, it's the first moment where you reach out to the person that you realize you now need to speak to. 4. Step Two: Outreach: It's amazing how big the variation is between a good pitch and a bad pitch. Every day I may wake up to over 100 emails from people trying to get time with me, trying to get me to write about their service, trying get a meeting with my company and within about a few seconds of reading every email, you get to understand if they get it or not. It's abundantly clear if they understand what drives me, it's abundantly clear if they've done any research on what my role is, what I like to write about and that feeling of knowing that someone understands where you're coming from is an essential part of any pitch process. Before you write the first piece of communication for the very first person, you actually need to have a whole contact strategy figured out. You need to know from your primary research what the hierarchy of the company is, who the main people in power are, the structure that they work in and the way that they make decisions. Based on that, you plot a contact strategy. Who do you need to speak to you first? What do you need to get from them? How's the best way to get in touch with them? The very first line of the very first form of communication is probably the most important sentence in all of this. You need to get their attention, you need to show that you understand their needs and their drivers and you need to secure time with them or knowledge from them or agreement from them within the very first few seconds of getting in contact with them. Then when articulating what you need to say to them, you need to keep in mind a clear structure. Think of it like a newspaper article. The headline is what gets people's attention, is what gets people to read more. So, how within the first few microseconds of a piece of communication can you get someone to pay attention and read on? The first sentence or paragraph should be to continue to get their attention, also to start to explain what it is that your company does and how it is that you can be useful to people. It's the sentences that follow on from that where you start to furnish more information. It's to give people enough information to decide if they need to know more, to decide if there's someone else that they should speak to instead. It's a very common mistake that's made in this part of the process is to assume that somehow it's about you and your needs and what's important to you. Actually, anyone reading an email or listening to a phone call only has one thing in mind I'm afraid, and that's how what you offer can be useful to their situation. We don't tend to care where you've come from, we don't tend to care what funding you have, we don't even really mind what other clients that you worked for. The only thing that we're thinking as we scan through hundreds of emails each and every day is precisely what it is that you can offer me which can be most useful and ultimately that doesn't come down to your funding, it doesn't come down to your success in the past, it doesn't come down to the school that you went to, it comes down to precisely what it is that you can offer me. It sounds rather brutal, but it's just the reality of the modern age. There is a time and a place to credentialed as yourself, but it's not within the first line of an email. Ultimately, at some point in this process we'll need to feel proof, we'll need to see your credibility, we'll need to know your experience in the past, but you first have to get my attention and explain to me concisely what it is that you can do to help me and only then will I be interested in that foundation behind you. I think over time the need to be concise has become even more important. I think in the past it seemed quite rude to be abrupt, we used the lace emails with questions about how people are, we used to try and earn a relationship and earn respect by being pleasant to people. Everyone is different when it come to this, but personally I find conciseness to be the most polite form of communication in the modern age. Then there is a modern trend towards vagueness in all forms of communication. I think there's a fear that by being specific, by being clear, that somehow you're going to put off people in your written communication. Nothing could be further away from the truth. I get so many pitches per day that nothing is more likely to put me off than reading an email and having no real idea of what it is that someone's trying to say or what it is that they're trying to accomplish. Again, be clear with people about what it is that you hope to achieve. Don't talk about exploring mutual interests, don't talk about picking someone's brain. Say, I have something and I need you to buy it. I have this service and we should have a meeting to discuss in detail. Don't be afraid to be ultra-speific, and ultra-honest, and ultra-transparent about what it is that you want. It's that clarity and concision that is the ultimate form of politeness in the modern age. Because the incremental cost of sending an email to 20,000 people is zero, a common trap that people fall in to today is to send one email to many many different recipients at the same time. You may use advanced software to personalize each one with a name, or a business, or even a client that you might have, but as someone that reads these emails is abundantly clear when you've done so. Every email should be written specifically with that person, that business challenge, that opportunity and that moment in time and that form of communication in mind. It's incredibly clear as a recipient of any form of communication when it is that someone's being specific when they write to me. It's also interesting to show a degree of humanity and vulnerability but yes you should be concise, yes you should be professional, but to offer suggestions that this might not be the product for you or that you've read my material and are not sure if it's interesting to me. A little bit of humility, a little bit a personality, a little bit of a demonstration of empathy is a key way to get favor with anyone. A key trap I see these days is people being artificially friendly. We've taken the body language and the structure of conversations face-to-face and then translated them to the telephone. We've taken telephone conversations and translated them to email. It's not realistic these days to form a bond with someone by asking them how they are or asking how their weekend was. It sounds strange, but that's just the kind of waste the time when you're reading through hundreds of emails per day. It's vital to be polite, it's vital to be friendly, it's perfectly sensible to have a personality and a show of charisma, but do so in a way that shows that you're considerate of their time, don't ask them questions, maybe just say a statement like, "I had a great weekend I hope you did too." The words of any email are vital, but also of utmost importance is the design of the email itself. Again, if you imagine what it's like to wake up to 200 emails every day. People are looking for any excuse that they can possibly have to delete your email and not feel bad about it. Anything that's constructed in an ugly way, anything that shows incredibly long sentences, everything that includes pictures that don't appear to be professionally made, these are all good reasons the people have for deleting something and not feeling bad about it. So, while I'm not saying that every email should be crafted in Photoshop, I am saying that you should use contemporary fonts, you should use short sentences, you should use paragraph blocks well and you should use dynamic enriched images wherever possible. I'd also add that the power of a video these days is incredibly profound and compelling. A pretty short email that's sent to me, that gives me a option to view a video online is an extremely good way to explain more about your product or service, but any video should probably be between about 30 and 90 seconds long. Because of the vast amount of research that you've undertaken, you should have a really clear sense of who it is that you need to speak to, but also when it is that you need to get in touch with them. You can look at the timing from different altitudes. So, taking the furthest step back, if you look at the year as a whole, you'll realize there are certain times of the year where it makes sense to get in touch with people. The weeks leading up to the holidays is unlikely that people want to undertake any kind of proactive initiative. The weeks that follow the end of the summer vacations, that's a great time to get in touch with people that are trying to make a difference because they probably just had time off and just thought about the year ahead and they have time to really undertake new products and experiences before the end of the year. We need to be aware of the financial year when it is the budgets will be clawed back, when it is the companies have money to spend, if they don't use they lose. Then, we need to look at things on a monthly basis. Again, every accountancy program will have a month end process. Every role will have a weekly cadence with team meetings, with status reports, with conference calls, it's great to get a sense of when it is the people will be receptive to different types of messages. Every person does their job in a different way, every company operates with a different culture, but by really immerse yourself into what it is like to be that person, you can best figure out the precise memo in time that it's best to contact them. There are also sneaky things that you can do with ultra senior people. If they're likely to have an executive assistant who's likely to block your emails, to send them something in an evening is actually quite a good way to bypass that step. A key part of the empathy that you need to show in this process is also being aware of regional differences. Not only differences between different countries, but also different parts of the same country. An email pitch that I sent to California could be vastly different from the same type of email sent to someone in the Midwest. The level of friendliness, the level of time that you presume people have, the actual time of day that you send it, these are all going to be things that depend very much on the geography of where the person is you receive them. You will know so far that I keep on talking about the first outreach being an email. There's a really interesting question I think that we all need to answer which is, what is the best form of communication for us to undertake in order to get what we want from a situation? In years gone by, cold calling was the preferred option for most salespeople. They love being able to get hold of someone immediately, they love being able to use their charisma and their charm to bring about what they wanted, but increasingly it's unlikely that this method will succeed in the future. Too many people are reluctant to answer the phone, too many people are suspicious of cold calls, an email ultimately is probably the best way for people to be able to get the information they need to establish if they need to speak to you more about something. Remember, in this whole process, it's always about them and not about you. It's always about the best form of communication for them to be able to understand your business, not about the best form of communication for you to be able to express it. I mean, phone calls are a key part of the selling process, but what we're talking about here is the initial outreach and most initial outreach is really about furnishing people with the information they need to know if they should arrange a phone call to talk about their product or service at length. We need to remember that a successful pitch is a series of events. So, every single step in the process is not about ultimately securing the final piece of business, but merely leading on to the next step in the process. A good email should lead to a phone call, a good phone call may lead to a meeting, it's unlikely you can get the meeting directly from the email. So, let's look at two examples of this done extremely well and this been extremely badly. 5. Example: Writing Effective Emails: So, the first mistake this person has made is by not addressing me by name. This immediately gives me the sign, this is an email being sent to more than one person. The second mistake they're making is to be overly friendly and they're asking me questions which is require me to answer them. By asking me if I had a nice weekend, by then giving extra personal information. I feel the combination of not addressing me by name and then talking to me about personal details of their life seems very disingenuous. So, I've lost trust in them. The big first paragraph has many mistakes. One is there's a weird combination of being close to me but also highly vague at the same time. Saying that they love what I do implies emotion without really understanding precisely what my role is. They then say that they've been a huge fan of me for years and not really explain why, again, raises some concerns. The next thing they've done is to tell me about their experience. At this point in the email, I don't know what it is they do. I don't know what solution they offer. I'm not particularly interested in knowing where they have worked before. At this moment in time, I'm just trying to find out precisely how they can help me and they're not telling me. The next warning flag is just the meaningless use of technical terms that don't mean anything in this context. By talking about AI, by reflecting upon Deep Learning, by mentioning 5G. All I can see is buzz words. I've read many words at this point in time and I still don't quite know what they do. The next line talking about clients of theirs, this is more contentious. Some people love to know that other people have bought products and services from them before. Some people love that social proof. Me personally, I'm quite proud of making decisions by myself and I don't need the proof that other people have made the same decision before. The final paragraph is a technique used by many, many people today. To start with them talking about their CEO. If I want to meet with the CEO, I would expect the email to come from that person's self. Next, they're saying they're in town tomorrow. This doesn't give me enough time realistically to change my calendar and time. Secondly, they're operating with this false urgency. They're trying to create the aura that somehow this person is ultra busy, that somehow I'm lucky to see them. They're suggesting a time, which is unlikely to work for me. I just don't like the tonality and the balance of power at this point in the email. Finally, they're offering to buy me a coffee or pick my brain. These are just not particularly attractive things they have mentioned to you. Buying me a coffee is valuing my time at maybe $5 an hour. Pick my brain just sounds like a very unpleasant situation. There's no clarity really in precisely what they want from this engagement. In totality, this email has essentially told me nothing about their product, nothing about what they can do to help me. It's given me no flavour at all of why I should engage with them. It's been very, very unclear about what the whole process is really about. I think we need to understand that when people get emails their primary mode is what can they safely delete and not regret it. Why nobody these days has enough time to read every single email that comes their way. Every time we delete an email we have this slight sense of self-doubt that you just hand down the opportunity of a lifetime. That you'll get into trouble for not reading it. So, every single second that we spend reading an email is basically establishing if we can delete it and not feel vulnerable or not feel stupid. So, that was a bit depressing. Let's look at how they should be done. Predictably, the email that's perfect is pretty much the polar opposite to the last one. So, this email establishes very early on that they've done quite a lot of research about my role already. I already feel morally bound to give them attention because they've given me some attention already. They've greeted me by name, which is showing to me that they're being specific. They've said that I hope I'm well, which is both polite and concise and doesn't ask me to return their question. The next thing that they've done is they've proven to me very quickly that they've done some research on me. By saying that they read a piece of mine in TechCrunch, It's not that they pander to my ego, it's just that they show they've undertaken some steps to make sure that what they say is relevant to me. The next line they already introduce the notion that they are working on a solution. I love this. They both define the problem that exists in the world. They've shown how that problem is relevant to me and then they've established that they themselves are offering a solution. When they say, "it's not been easy but we think we're ready," they're already establishing some humility and some personality. I like the idea of meeting people who are not entirely certain. The degree of self ambiguity, the degree to which they sucks me in at this point is quite strong. These are people that I feel like I want to meet at this point in time. The line from my research, I gather your role is to help companies like Kohl's and Chase. Again, this is showing that they are being empathetic to my needs. They put time into understanding precisely what my role is and they've already established that the solution they have is relevant to a clients that I work with. Even the line I think this solution may be interesting to you, that's quite seductive. Already the power is being put on to me. Already I've become quite intrigued about what it is this might be. They haven't told me much about what it is that they've done but at this point I'm already thirsty to read on and find more. In the second paragraph, they explain very concisely and pretty clearly and in very simple language exactly what it is that they do. They talk about the uniqueness of the solution, they talk about the degree to which they're working with people to shape this solution, and they talk a little bit about the methodology. But now with so much information, I know enough. Again, this email does a great job of ensuring that I am intrigued and want to find out more. The addition of the 60 second video is genius. It's not attached to the email to make it too large, but it gives me the option if I'm interested to find out a little bit more. Again, 60 seconds is not going to be enough for me to understand everything I need to know. It's going to be enough to establish if I'm interested in having a meeting. Within this email, there's also a very clear call to action. Is very clear that they're being empathetic to my needs and they know their meeting is probably not appropriate as the next step and instead they're offering a quick phone call and they're telling me what they're going to do on this phone call. This is a very, very easy email for me to say yes to. There's no reluctance they have to spend two or three minutes on the phone with these people. Again, the final way that this email has ended by saying if this isn't for you let me know. Already they've been considerate enough about my time to warrant a reply and they've apologized for taking up my time. There's also a implicit suggestion within this. If I'm not the right person, they should probably reply to them and let them know who the best person for them to speak to is. But they haven't asked me to do that, it's just implied within their language. So, next time you're writing your first pitch, next time you're composing the first email that you write to someone, look at these two templates. How many of the best practices have you put into play? How many of the mistakes from the bad email have you also written? Use this as a template to help you through the process. I promise you that while these emails are specific to me that these are common problems and common things that people do they're helpful to anyone any business. So, you have written the perfect email, the person at the end of it loves what you have to offer. The next step is either to speak to them on the phone or to meet face to face. Let's cover that next. 6. Step Three: Face-to-Face Meetings: You've done your research, you have written the perfect email, and now low and behold, you get to meet your contacts. This is how to best conduct a face to face meeting or the first phone call. We have to be aware that these first meetings take many different shapes and forms. Sometimes it may be a formal job interview where a job is there to be given to you or not, it may be a sales process where you're trying to get people to buy your products or services, it may be that you're meeting with a journalist who you're hoping to cover your business, it may even be that you're just having drinks with someone that can be useful to your career. So, be mindful that each of these meetings takes on a very different shape and form, they last different amounts of time, they happen in different environments, they can lead to vastly different outcomes, and then involve different processes and different tools. You obviously wouldn't take a PowerPoint presentation to a normal job interview, you wouldn't take a laptop to casual drinks in a bar. So, be highly responsive about the kind of meeting you're engaging in, and make sure you bring the right tools and the right equipment, and have the right attitude for every meeting. The key part of selling is actually not talking but listening. Silence is actually one of the key weapons in any sales process. The ability to let the person talk to express what's important to them at that moment in time, perhaps you're talking about things in such a technical way that you've lost people and they just don't understand what you're saying. Perhaps you're talking about things at such a high level that they realize they're not actually empowered to make the decision that you need them to make. So, always looking, always be learning, and always be responding to any situation in every single meeting. There are some practical steps that people should undertake to make every face to face meeting as successful as possible. Some of them seem like common sense, some of them seem patronizing, but I'm aware that not many people undertake the following steps. The first thing is to agree a time and a location which suits the buyer not the seller. It may be that you have a highly complex product that needs to be demonstrated, and that has to happen in your own premises. But even in such instances, you should still offer to take the product to them as a way to fit around their needs. The reality is that most of the time, the meetings will be hosted to the clients venue, you should be aware that you may not know what the conference room look like, you may not know how many seats are there, you may not know how their presentation equipment works. So, undertake any steps that you can beforehand to know precisely what room will your be in, what their layout looks like, and what technical specifications you have. Make sure that the presentation is up and running as soon as possible in a meeting, because again wasted time dealing with technical problems is a huge issue for most clients. It sounds slightly patronizing, but how you kick off the meeting is also key. How do you introduce yourselves, how do you make sure that the clients introduce yourselves, to what level of detail do you go into, how familiar should you be with them, how friendly should you be with them? These things are all vary especially geographically and especially depending on the nature of a client. But it's essential that you set the tone, you set the pace that you introduce yourself properly, but at the same time don't be over familiar especially for show meetings. There are other practicalities to do with the timing of the meeting. If the meetings held early in the morning, do you offer to bring coffee, do you offer to bring breakfast. If it's a lunch meeting, do you take orders before you go to the premises for what they might like to eat? Most of the time, it's best to be considerate and it's best to be generous spirited, but make sure you don't go overboard because particularly luxurious food or gifts can be seen as bribery. As strange as it may sound, be sure to kind of feel the meeting room. Think about where you're sitting in respect to the presentation, think about where you're sitting in respect to the clients, think about how many people you bring to the meeting and where they should sit around the table. As a general rule of thumb, bringing too many people shows too much eagerness, and appears to exert some pressure on the person buying your product or service. Bringing too few people shows the level of arrogance, and it shows a level of disrespect. So, undertake as much research as you can beforehand to make sure you're bringing the appropriate number of people to any meeting, which is often about mirroring the same number of people that they're likely to have. These are all details to feel your way through as you arrive in the meeting room. Another key aspect is how do you present. Do you stand up with a clicker and bellow loudly at the top of your voice as you go through slides, do you sit down with a computer, Ignore the projector and have a much more intimate meeting with you going through slides in a much more personal manner. These are things that are hard to prepare for, you have to get to the meeting room, and just feel your way through what feels most appropriate and most likely to form a bond with people. Bringing a copy of any presentation is absolutely vital, but be careful of how and when you distribute it. If you give out copies of key presentations slides before you start the presentation, you'll find that people tend to flick ahead and actually look at the entire presentation before you even start it. It is useful to give some guidance to provide people with some stimulus as you take people through a presentation, but make sure it doesn't give too much away. Instead, at the end of a meeting, be sure to furnish people with full and lengthy notes about everything that you covered, that they can take away with them at the end of the meeting. Remember, your job is not to go through the presentation, but instead to have a productive and helpful conversation. Don't label your way through a presentation, you may have prepared 70 slides, it may have taken you three months to prepare each slide, I don't care. At the end of the day, the presentation is there to go into the background, it is there to guide conversations, it's not the most important thing, it's the least important thing. It's not uncommon for halfway through a meeting for people in the room to be aware that actually this isn't the meeting the people expected to be. It's quite common for people to suddenly realise that the people needed in their room are not their, or the product or service just isn't appropriate for that audience. This is not a failure, this is merely another step on the process toward success. It's important that you understand what's happening, it's important that you respond to it in the right way. Maybe there's a pivotal point in the presentation where you establish the key people that aren't there, it may be that someone can sort, it maybe your research wasn't correct. Don't be afraid to cut short a meeting, but also don't be afraid to use that time you have to learn more about the client and learn more about the best people to speak to you next time, or even their competitors. One of the most common failures I see is people misunderstanding what success really looks like. Everyone likes a happy meeting, everyone loves the meeting that people enjoyed, everyone loves building a rapport with key clients and key people who can buy your product or service. What's really an ultimately and quite boringly the case, is that every meeting must end in concrete next steps that everyone's agreed to. A successful meeting should have a follow up note outlining precisely what it is that needs to happen next, and next steps which are understood and agreed to by everybody. Often the sales process doesn't involve itself to meeting straightaway, or often geography means that it's not possible to meet face to face even though it's preferable. The reality is that many first proper engagements may happen over the telephone. Many of the guidance I've given you so far is completely and directly comparable with face to face meetings, but there are some key differences. To start with, it's easier to rearrange the time if it's not suitable, and it's also easier for people to not pay attention. You also don't get access to the same level of visual feedback about how someone feeling, you won't know if they're tuning out, you won't know if they looked stressed. So, be highly highly attuned to how people are behaving, and be very quick to offer the phone call at a different time. Many phone calls are also conference calls which are extremely difficult even with today's contemporary technology. The ability to not hear each other, then people interrupt each other continually, people dropping out and not paying attention, even sharing slides over the phone is still quite surprisingly difficult. Another thing to bear in mind is many people may be dialing in from places where they can't hear properly, or they may not be able to focus on what's been said. Phone calls are always the backup plan for when a face to face meeting can't happen, and when you're undertaking phone calls, just make sure that you're able to impart knowledge in a much more clear, concise, and efficient way. So, hopefully you listen to my advice. So, if you've had that first meeting, hopefully it went incredibly well. So, what do you do next? How do you. 7. Step Four: Following Up: So, you had an amazing meeting, everyone walks away high fivng, everyone is happy and then things go quiet. What do you do next? How do you follow up? How do you keep the momentum going? That's what we cover in this video. It seems too kin, it seems boring, it seems old fashioned but writing a thank you note the very day after, or the very day of the meeting is absolutely essential even in 2018. This follow up note should be clear, it should be concise, it should be extremely brief. It's mainly that to thank them for their time, but it's also there to follow up with concrete next steps that you can all agreed to. It may also confirm some of the knowledge that you found out. It's highly likely that first meeting was very successful but is also likely that there are other people that you need to meet. There's other information that you need from them, there are follow ups that come from their side of things as well. So, use this note to say thank you but also to start the ball rolling with other follow ups that needs to happen. So, this note has to have a tone of politeness, it has to thank them for their time, it has to be enthusiastic but also make sure it doesn't sound desperate. You need to be highly aware of the fact that these proactive pursuits are not actually what's driving the other people in their career. They don't need you as much as you need them probably. So, be aware on your tonality and in the frequency of follow up emails, you're considerate of the situation that they're in. Use these emails to keep the momentum on the sales process and use these emails to establish other people that you need to speak to in order to secure the deal. Each and every follow up should actually add more information to the situation. An update saying that you've won a new client, that you've changed your ingredients somehow, that you've got your experience, that you've got funding any form of information that can help people change their mind or want to know more is incredibly useful in this situation. It also provides you with a meaningful excuse, an explanation for why you're getting in contact again and also make it easy for that person to reply, give them an out. I've seen many successful emails written to me that give me like multiple choice answers to select from. Maybe the A means I don't have time right now but follow up later. There maybe B means that my priorities have changed and it's no longer useful to me. It maybe the C means that I'm offering the chance for me to give them someone else's details to follow up with. Make it extremely easy for people to reply to you. We've all been there, we've had an amazing first dates but somehow people won't return our phone calls. Business meetings are very much the same. It may be possible that you misread the body language. It may be possible that you weren't quite the ultimate solution that you felt like you were. It's quite easy to take offence when someone won't reply to you. I often won't reply to emails quickly because I really need to think about the reply I am sending to people and then it may take me weeks or months even to reply to some of the most important emails. So, don't take a lack of response as being disinterested, it may actually mean they're quite interested and they haven't really thought about how best to deal with your inquiry. Of course, it's very hard to know the difference between emails, the go and answer because they're not interested and emails that go unanswered because they're specifically interested and don't know what to do. But that's where you need to be considerate and responsive in the way that you follow up and the tonality that you use. So, in the follow up process and within your contact strategy, an ideal situation is that people get back to you but often they get back to you with information that you don't want to hear. It may be that they have told you they don't have budgets, it may be that they tell you that they're not the person to make the decision. In these situations, you have to be incredibly careful to know what's a real objection and what a false objection is. Quite often people don't want to tell you the ugly truth. They don't want to say that they've got no money, they do not want to say that your product wasn't good enough, they'd certainly go on to say that they don't like you. So, when you're getting feedback of this nature, be sure to be critical and reflective and try and understand what's really going on and what the real objection is so that you can overcome it later. Probably one of the hardest things in life is knowing when to give up and when to many just try harder and focus more strongly on the goal in mind. This is an incredibly difficult decision to make in any sales process especially one that you put so much time and energy into. I think a key part of this is to be deeply empathetic about the situation that you face. Really understand what's driving this person, really understand what challenges this business has, really reflect on yourself and the product and the service that you have, how you presented it and be really mindful that ultimately you may not be the answer to all of their prayers and hopes at that moment in time. If you genuinely, and wholeheartedly, and empathetically, and truthfully think you're exactly what they need, then by all means carry on the sales process with vigor and carry on through the notes but also be prepared to accept that maybe something else better came along or maybe you're not ultimately what they need at the moment. Be sure to not take this personally. Don't think that they didn't like you, don't think you did a bad job, just understand that business is to make decision based purely on logic most of the time. Based on how the meeting went, based on how you got on with that person, what relationship you formed with them and the relevance of what you offer to their business, be thoughtful about what a reasonable next step is if ultimately they decide to say no to what you have to offer. It may be their connection request to LinkedIn is a great way to stay in touch. Maybe they want to add them to your newsletter. It maybe they want to send them holiday cards, it may be that you want to invite them to a meeting where you invite thought leaders to present at your office. Be considerate in how you choose to follow up. Don't add people to newsletter distribution lists unless you're sure that they will enjoy them. Don't invite people to your office for events unless you think there's a decent chance they will come. At the end of the day, most people have far too many emails, far too many newsletters, they get invited to far too many events. So, try not to turn a great relationship with someone into something that feels more desperate. 8. Final Thoughts: So, thanks for paying attention to the video so far. I just want to leave you with three final thoughts. Number one, make your mistakes with people that matter less. There is no way that you will be even close to good at your first attempt to this. You won't ever be perfect. You will always be making mistakes, but every mistake is an opportunity to learn more to be better next time. Be careful of who you make these mistakes with. In fact, to start with, find friends, find family that you can practice on. Test and learn with people that have literally no importance whatsoever within your business or industry. Then move up to slightly more important people, but people that ultimately don't matter that much. Find smaller companies, find less important people, find companies that are less likely to buy your products, and make sure that you make mistakes with these people. Not people that could ruin your career for a lifetime. Slowly but surely, move your way up to more senior people, more relevant leads, people who are more likely to convert to make sure at that point that you've learned from everything you've experience so far. Secondly, in any video, you tend to offer absolutes, you tend to presume that there's black and there's white, there's good and there's bad, there's things that mess up, and there're things that always succeed. The reality is that every person is different. Every business is different. Every interaction takes on the personality of the two people that are in the room together. So, just be careful that while I've given you some clear advice, that there are no absolutes in this world. You have to feel your way through what feels right to you, what feels right to the situation, and what feels right for that particular person at that moment in time. My third point is the value of empathy. True empathy isn't about putting yourself in someone else's position. It's about pretending you're that other person and putting themselves in that situation. You may love risk, you may love big personalities, you may love making big important decisions. Not everyone is like you. So, be highly, highly, highly considerate of precisely how that person is feeling in that moment in time. The resets that you undertake in this process is the most important thing you will ever do, to know the motivations, to know the fears, to know the politics, to know the timing. When you understand everything you possibly can do about the person that you are speaking to or the team that you're speaking to, you're most likely to achieve the goals that you set out to. So, I hope you've enjoyed watching these videos as much as we've enjoyed making them. I hope you're able to upload any questions that you have, upload any pictures that you have. I'm here to answer any questions that you may have at any moment in time. I wish you all the best with your future pitching, your future selling, and success in the rest of your career. Thank you. 9. What to Watch Next: