One of the greatest challenges for salespeople is (and always will be) gaining the first meeting with a prospect. These seven ideas will make it easier for you to gain the ever-important first meeting with your dream client.  

1. The goal of the first contact is an appointment, one that you will likely fail to secure

 If you are going to secure an appointment with your dream client, you are going to have to persist over some period of time.

2. There is more than one way in: Find one

 The contact that you have identified may or may not be receptive to your request for a meeting. There are other potential contacts who may be more interested and can help you find your way to an opportunity. Just get in.

3. Find a mutual connection that will make an introduction for you

This is perhaps the most overlooked channel for getting a new prospect. You know people that know people. If you aren’t asking your connections to make a new connection for you then you're doing this the hard way.

4. Your preferred communication channel isn't necessarily your client's

 You like email. So you email meeting requests to your dream client. They prefer the telephone. By not using multiple channels, you are likely missing the opportunity to connect with your dream client in the method they prefer. Be everywhere. Try everything.

5. Make value-creating deposits in your future relationships

 If your first and only contact with your dream client is your request for a meeting, you are sending the signal that you are interested in capturing value for yourself—not creating value for your prospect. Share useful, helpful, insightful information in front of your “ask.” This creates value in the relationship.

6. Reduce the level of requested commitment

 How much time do you really need? Instead of asking for an appointment, ask for a 20-minute appointment. This reduces the level of requested commitment for your prospect, making it easier for them to agree to meet you. If it doesn't work out, and if you're not creating value in that 20-minute time period, your prospect can end the meeting.

7. Be very clear on what you intend to do with their time

 Remember that your dream client has had lots of sales people walk into her office and fish around to generate rapport and waste her time. When you ask for an appointment, be very clear as to what you're going to do with that time and how it's going to be valuable for your client. Each sales call needs to have its own value proposition that is compelling enough for your dream client to say “yes.”


Anthony Iannarino is an author, speaker, and entrepreneur. He has been named one of the top 25 most influential people in sales by both OpenView Partners and Top Sales World. Anthony writes for the magazines SUCCESS and ThinkSales, as well as daily at The Sales Blog.