Following are some tips to ensure your informational interview goes smoothly.
1.Call the day of the meeting to confirm it.
2.Get to the meeting 10 minutes early. If you are meeting over video call, make sure you’re ready to go at least 5 minutes early, ensuring your camera and microphone is working. Do not stay longer than the time you have set up for it. Realistically, the meeting will last about 30 minutes.
3.Again, and I can't stress this enough, do not ask for the “order”. If a problem is mentioned during your meeting that your service or product can solve, casually mention what you can do that will benefit the company relative to it. Then, back off from the situation. (You can reiterate your company’s service or products benefit and value in your thank-you letter.)
4. Keep track of honoring the timeslot you committed to. When the allotted time is up (15-20 minutes), thank your business interview partner for their time and prepare to leave. If they ask you to stay beyond the designated timeslot, that is fine, but only if they are inviting you to linger. Most importantly, you want to show them that you respect their time and honor your commitments.
5. Ask them if there are any people they think you should contact for additional information and assistance. Try these segues:
·"Do you know of anyone who might have a need of my company’s product or service in your market?" (If no, then . . .)
·"Do you know of anyone who might know of someone who would?" (If no then . . .)
·"Do you know someone who knows a lot of people in the industry whom you think I should talk to?"
6. Prior to leaving, ask, "Is there anything I can do for you?" or "What can I do to help you?"
7. Tell the person you've met with that you would like to send them a copy of your product/service brochure to have on file. Ask them if they would prefer to receive it via email, mail, or fax.
8. Mention that you will keep them informed on the results of your new business search. This is a subtle way to keep the door open and continue to build the relationship.
9. Thank your business interview partner verbally for their time and for any ideas they were able to share with you. Make sure you exchange business cards.
10. When you return home, remember to update your notes on the company in your Excel spreadsheet. Include any new business leads or ideas you picked up during the meeting that you need to follow up on.
Follow this plan step by step. Remember to use this same plan again with your next informational meeting you set up in the future. Rinse and repeat. Keep repeating the process until you have more business than you can handle, and you are spending more time with your loved ones.
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