Nance came into the office voice first: "If I have to sit through another coffee appointment that's all about pets and kids and vacations I'm just going to scream."
It wasn't the first time I'd heard that. In another version the Member says "They spent the whole time talking about their business - they never asked one question about mine."
It's a thing. To combat it Nance started doing some research, and lot more coffees, and the result it the PowerPercolator template. (Say thank you.) Six questions, in order, timed.
- Be the keeper of the time. Really. Get out your phone, set it for 3 minutes for the first round. When it rings of course you'll let the person finish their sentence, but then smile, nod, say "Great!" turn your head and call the next person's name as you set the timer for 3 more minutes. Can you play a little loose with this? A little. Maybe. Or - you could say "That sounds like a good topic for another coffee." so you can move on. I like to switch the order up each time. If we went Andy, Billie, Chris for question one, I do Billie, Andy, Chris for question two. Take the lead with this. They'll thank you.
- Note the time for each question - that's important. It also means the result is as effective as the least prepared person. I've seen Members come with a written outline, so they take their whole time, and don't get cut off.
- Each question is specific. Question two is five minutes - five - 5 to talk about one client - one - 1. This is an actual person - not a list of "somebody who, anybody that, everybody in" There's no referral there. Referrals come from specificity. That's the purpose, and the benefit, of the questions. Get all of the benefit.
- The questions total 20 minutes each. So if there are 3 people that's an hour. Add time to get coffee, and have a little leaving conversation, and I generally budget 90 minutes. It's possible for 4 people to do 90 minutes if the keeper of the time keeps it tight.
Pro Tip: those first three minutes each are crucial. What Nance learned was that when the three of you find out what you have in common, you'll have referrals for each other soon.
I did a PowerPerk with a Bill - signs, Marcia - commercial insurance, and John - printing. They had each had an an in-person contact with Paul Newman! (What are the odds, really?) The next day they each had a client referral for the other two.
Sometimes all three people are in a band. Or lived in Milwaukee. Or have birthday's on the same day.
Go make money, with coffee!