Thursday, June 24, 2010

Marketing meetings - code of conduct

.....general fundas on marketing, based on my startup experience of 4-5 years.....

Well marketing is essentially a non-essential part of startup. Energies should be focused on developing good product/services which people need and it will sell for itself. However for developing a good product/service you need to have feedback from the users, also you need capital. So you need clients. Its a catch-22 situation, but like all catch-22 situation the solution is not to waste time in thinking what to do but start doing whatever you can do. So fix up meetings with your prospective clients. Then prepare for those meetings.

Before the Meeting

Do your homework and try to find out the answer to following questions:

1. What does the company do?

2. What can we offer them? Please limit yourself to maximum 2 items that you think would be useful for them.

3. What is the size of the company? This should give you an idea of the decision making process in the company.

4. Then the designation of the person you are meeting shall give you an idea how much is the influence of that person in decision making.

Just before the meeting

1. Don't hesitate to call on person's mobile to schedule the meeting.

2. Reach on time. Target 15 mins before time.

3. Don't call on person's mobile to ask for directions. If required, call up the reception desk to ask for directions.

4. Be dressed appropriately. A business suit is not necessary but is usually a safe choice.

5. If you are below thirty, try to look as old as possible. Things like beard and straight serious face can help.

6. Write a crisp and brief e-mail describing the purpose of meeting. Attach your company brochure. Attachment shall not be more than 0.5 MB

7. Use normal talking language in emails. Don't be too formal (Greetings of the Day!!) or Informal (Hey Dude!!)

8. Doing follow-up with sms is good, this way there is a higher chance that he stores your number in his phone-book.

9. Its great if he has stored your number in his phonebook. Obviously you can not ensure that but try to work in that direction.

10. Store his number in your phonebook.

11. Strictly avoid calling after office hours.

12. Always take a pen and notepad to take noted during the meeting.

During the meeting

1. Avoid calling the person Sir or Madam. Use first name or last name as per the local culture. For example use last name in India and use first name in most of the western world.

2. Be confident. Speak clearly. Don't smile or laugh unnecessarily.

3. Shake hands firmly, a lot of body language have popularized this belief that a limp shake of hands shows lack of confidence and moral weakness.

4. Exchange business cards at the start of the meeting.

5. Keep business card in front of you so that you can see the name, in case you forget during the meeting.

6. Always notice whether mobile number is written on the card. If not then ask for the mobile number at the end of the meeting.

7. After exchanging business cards wait for few seconds for him to initiate some discussion.

8. If he doesn't says anything and is expecting you to start the discussion then start with something generic. Something like, after so much discussion its great to finally meet you in person. Or may be what is this rolling stock division written in your business card. Or something along the same lines.

9. Do not keep anything on his table in the beginning. Don't open laptop without permission. Don't intrude his space unless he is comfortable with it. Keep a cordial distance.

10. After some generic chat, structure your conversation so that its divided in to following five parts:

First Part: Identify the pain

Try to find out what is the problem he is facing that you can solve. Your research before the meeting should help you here.

Second Part: Offering the solution

After identifying the problem, show a case-study of a similar problem you had solved for someone else. This is the best time to take out laptop or printed material. If you do not have a real case-study then you can also think about some imaginary casestudy but it shall look as real as possible.

Third Part: Does that solves your problem?

Ask him whether this/these case-studies are similar to his. Discuss how his problem is different. Acknowledge the added complexity in his problem but show confidence that you and your team can solve it.

Fourth Part : Company Introduction

Talk about your company, team members, associations etc. and why are you confident that the problem would be solved easily.

Fifth Part: Way Forward

Discuss concrete steps to go forward. Write down these steps before ending the meeting.

11. If he offers you something to drink, don't refuse. This would ensure that meeting would last for at-least 15 minutes.

12. If he is rude and has serious doubts about your capabilities. Stay polite but firm regarding your capabilities.

13. If you explain the technology that you are using, do that in layman language without using any Jargon.

14. If asked about competitors then give names that are actually not your direct competitors and are much bigger and well known.

15. If asked about pricing, don't give cryptic answers. Have your figures ready in mind. Perhaps you can say that casestudy cost so much.

16. Try to use the language of the client as much as possible. The more he understands you, better it is.

17. If he asks for sample project. Ask for project details and say we will evaluate how much work is involved, if its not too much and we can do it with in a week or so, we will do it.

And remember its just not about how you say it, its very much about what you say.


Anonymous said...

I think you'll want to place a facebook icon to your site. I just marked down the site, although I had to do it by hand. Just my 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

J'aime vraiment votre article. J'ai essaye de trouver de nombreux en ligne et trouver le v?tre pour être la meilleure de toutes.

Mon francais n'est pas tres bon, je suis de l'Allemagne.

Mon blog:
Regroupement de credit ou banque Rachat De Credit

Anonymous said...


Dizzy said...

Great advice! Already following some (have grown a thick mustache, for instance :p), will try to follow most of the rest.

One question, how much do you think being genuine, maybe even impromptu (but armed with thorough study or understanding of the facts of course) helps?

Unknown said...

Me thinks being genius has lot of merit. You might lose some short term business, but eventually it builds gud relationship with gud guys.

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