You may have heard me talk by now about social setting pitching and how it is rarely a good idea. Meeting someone in public is an opportunity to ask for a meeting, at most, but not a good time to pitch.
However, if you don’t have anything to meet about than you really shouldn’t be asking for a meeting. I’m sure you’ll agree with this wholeheartedly, until you meet someone you would really like to sit down with but you don’t know what you would talk about.
My fiancé and I were at a dinner party a few weeks ago and I ended up sitting beside an Exec who owns a prominent production company in town. I did my best not to instigate too much shop talk and at the end of it we had had a pretty good time. His company makes a lot of Reality TV but, he focuses on documentaries. It’s his business partner and co-owner of the company who does the reality side of things.
When the evening was over I gave him a card, he gave me one, and we each went on our way.
My fiancé had noticed that we had some good conversations and asked me later if I was going to have a coffee with him. “No.” I replied. “Why not?” she asked. “Well, what would we talk about?” I said.
I know if I developed a relationship with this guy I could learn a ton from him, but what am I offering? And, if we did go out for a coffee, what would the objective of the meeting be? And that, right there, was the rub.
What would the objective be? If I’m not pitching, or offering something, or asking something specific of him, why am I asking for a meeting?
As a person building relationships in this business you must respect people’s time and energy. Just because you had a good time over dinner does not mean you have an in. You have to have something to offer to have an in. You have to bring something to the table. Or have a very real reason for getting together.
My fiancé and I discussed this at length and as far as I was concerned I had absolutely no reason to meet with him again because I could not think of an answer to the inevitable question, “So what’s up?”
That was until she brought up one point he had said in the evening’s discussion. BANG! It changed everything. This one thing he said at dinner gave me a focused, succinct reason to contact him and ask him if we could sit down and talk shop.
So now when I walk into his office and he says, “So what’s up?” I have the answer. “At dinner you said blah blah blah blah” and that intrigued me. You know I have this show that is ready to go, and if what you said is the case, perhaps blah blah blah.”
Bang! I have a reason to sit down with another Exec from another production company and establish a new relationship. And why? Because I know the objective of the meeting and I have the answer to the question, “So what’s up?”