Well, this just happened yesterday, and it shows what simple no-brainer prospecting in Offline can get you.
I’ve been recovering from oral surgery the last few days, and basically laid up, going nowhere, doing nothing. Yesterday was my first day doing something out of the house, and I decided to go for breakfast to a restaurant that was just re-opened, “under new management”, as they say.
Got seated and ordered. Looked around and could see they were planning some big changes. New flooring, walls gone, much nicer all around and it wasn’t even done yet. Hostess comes over and asks how the food was. ….and I said, “great”….and began to ask a few questions.
It turns out this attractive ‘hostess’ is actually the new owner.
I ask her how she came to own the place, when she took over, when she got into restaurants, how she chose the name, what were her plans to grow the place, and pretty much anything that I was curious about. I let my curiosity lead me.
(Granted I have experience, but any motivated consultant can follow this lead. My first objective is to establish RAPPORT. Without it, I have little further opportunity – with it, I can move to the next stage.)
In summary, at this stage I just showed intense interest in her and the business. I alternated between flattery and more curiosity. And it was all genuine. Because I am genuinely interested in people’s businesses.
She left the table a few times to seat people, but always came back.
Sensing an opportunity, I asked, “ So, How do you plan to get the word out?” …about the new ownership and new menu and everything?”
She said she and her brother would have to sit down and map out some ideas. …and they needed to do that soon. I asked why, and she explained they would have a formal grand opening in only one month.
“So you really have to decide soon, what with publication closing dates and getting everything scheduled ahead of time, right?”
Then I said, “I’ve had clients that waited till the last minute and had poor results because of it, so I know what you’re saying”….
(that’s where I planted the seed)…..lit the fuse, if you will.
She said, “Really, what do you do?”
“I help businesses launch customer-generating campaigns.”
“Like advertising, what do you mean?” (her tone actually quickened)
She pulled out a chair and sat down, while keeping one eye on the front.
I said, “Sure advertising is part of it, but promotion, internet, signage, everything.
…that is everything that will bring in new customers and re-activate old ones.”
She leaned into me and said, “what do you think we should advertise in?”…what’s working now?...my brother is clueless about this.”
(Check this out: I have been here 20 minutes, I’ve never met this woman before, but am now seriously being asked “where should we advertise?” by someone with a going business and an obvious need.)
“We’re thinking of coupon book ads, what do you think of those?” “They’re good”, I say but there’s a right and wrong way to do it, y’know.”
“How about this, when I get back to my office, I’ll fax you some ideas that may help with the grand opening and going forward. “
“and when I come for breakfast on Wednesday, we can chat about it…are you here Wednesday morning?”
“Oh yes, I’m here every morning right now!” She laughs.
So I picked up a business card as I left and faxed her some ideas, really just a list of things she needed to do to have a successful Grand Re-Opening… and some ideas for marketing as they went forward. And that was that, I thought.
About 4 hours later, I get a call. The owner says can I come for breakfast Tuesday instead? Sure. We meet and talk about what will give them the most bang for the buck. I meet the brother, and its as if we know each quite well already. Weird really, but I have such good rapport with his sister, its pretty easy interacting with him.
His sister and I map out an initial grand opening plan, and then what needs to happen in the weeks and months that follow. They have a budget, and will spend thousands over the next 60 days, I estimate. My initial fee is $1,100, and will grow as we do more. This fee is over and above any expenses we incur.
The last time I did one of these mini-grand openings my fees totaled over $2500.
For me, this was a pleasant reminder that RAPPORT is everything. I think it’s easy to get persuaded that if we as consultants have the latest ‘thingy’ we have a powerful tool to attract clients. But I’ve found that having rapport is really the key to the vault.
If they feel comfortable with you, if they like you, then that will lead to trust…and trust will lead to prospects being willing to accept your recommendations. It’s like a chain, and rapport is the link that governs all the rest.