I was driving back to my office today and the phrase “Seed Meetings” snuck into one of my synapses. I was actually coming home from one such meeting. For years everyone has called the meetings we have with prospects, referrals, friends of friends networking meetings. Information is swapped and once in a while these meetings lead to real prospects who turn into real clients. Hey, the process works.
Today was different though. Several weeks ago I was introduced to Jim (not the real name) over a great lunch. I gave him a copy of my book and we agreed to meet in the future, which was today. An hours worth of a plant tour and several side conversations on sales ensued. Prior to leaving I asked Jim if he would like for me to provide one of my services to him free. We discussed it and Jim thought the idea was worth pursuing. (I’m vague on the type of service because I have not seen this particular service anywhere on the web. I’d like to keep it that way for the short-term at least.)
Yes there was some networking going on as well. Jim has several people with whom he will connect me. This was really more than a networking meeting. It was a seed meeting. I remember that as a salesperson I dropped a lot of seeds with prospects and customers. Somewhere during the seed meeting I usually made a comment like this:
- Have you ever thought about….
- What if I came into your company and provided….
- What can I do for you…..
- I realize that money is tight. What if I came into your company and gave….
- I’d like to give you a sense for what our service can do. I’d like to offer….
If you have been a loyal reader going back several years you know that I am not a proponent of ‘free consulting’. But let’s face it, these are different economic times so perhaps they demand a different approach. And let’s not forget the adage that “the more you give the more you get”.
Give some thought to how you can package your product or service in a way that allows prospects the chance to see it and you in action. Drop a few seeds at future meetings. This does work. In one of my analytical phases as a salesperson (they were few and far between) I tracked the seed theory. In a one year period of seed droppings I converted 4 accounts and received trials in another 6. Not great but respectable.
Sometimes sales and revenue is a function of creativity.