A good few years ago, on a Friday afternoon, I made the mistake of setting off to a meeting with a prospective client and it got ugly.
He seemed like such a great fit. A creative independent professional buried in the stuff of architecture and unable to figure out how to step back and grow his practice. He needed help and I was his man.
Clearly then, sufficient reason for me to set off in my car to pay him a visit and sign him up as a paying client. Well you’d think so wouldn’t you?
Only problem was, it was a Friday afternoon. I was in the east of the city, he was in the north and I’d forgotten it was a long weekend.
The traffic was awful. After thirty minutes, I swear I could still see my office in the rear-view mirror. Man, did I get cranky. With myself.
So much so, I called my own office phone to leave a message reminding myself, in no uncertain terms, why I should never agree to another speculative meeting! To say I was hacked off is a major understatement. I was really, really spewing.
Such was my annoyance that I even called myself back – twice – to yell and scream some more. I was really mad with the idiot who sent me on this nonsensical trip. The idiot being me, don’t forget.
This slightly bizarre action proved to be a much needed turning point in how I approached meetings and it brought about a change that has stuck with me.
Why on earth was I spending time travelling to meet a prospect, when I could achieve the exact same thing by having a call or online meeting in twenty minutes? Even on a good day, just one meeting can waste quite a few hours by the time you factor in getting ready, parking and travel. It’s an outrageous waste of time.
And when we’re not fully committed, it’s an easy trap to fall into.
Listening back to the recordings of my stressed-out voice helped reinforce my new intention.
From that day on, I vowed to always determine if a meeting was truly necessary before committing to going anywhere.
The way I did that was with my exploratory twenty-minute phone conversation. To this day I attend far fewer meetings and get considerably more work done. I use the exploratory conversation to really qualify my prospect and agree that the ‘next step’ is the beginning of us working together.