As I perspire with disgust, the thought of why I’m here, breezes through my mind. The heat in the office that I am temporarily displaced in is excruciating, and so was my last meeting with a prospective client.
Im putting up this post to talk about HOT and COLD. Yes, it’s weird that in the business world it’s the total opposite of how we really feel with our actual sense of touch. Kettle hot equals move your f#@king hand away, and rainy day cold could mean its time to get it on, perhaps.
The same confusion comes about when people start using this to label prospective clients. Take this morning for example. I was totally prepared to take a brief for a job that was, to me, HOT. Only to my fiendish surprise, that it was a meeting to get me to write up a scope of work for an open tender in his company. POW! A cold “I need to wake up earlier in the morning” slap across my face.
Well you might be asking why? Let’s get pass the fact that I was given the same old reassurance speech of me getting the job was a sure-thing. The only reason why someone would do such a thing is that it’s well accepted in the industry. It’s common practise. Or as one of my close friends would tell me – “Come on, this is not your first rodeo right?”.
I’m not going to tell you that there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel, or a pot of gold at the end of this sad story. In fact I am going to part with some humble knowledge that I’ve gathered from this morning’s meeting so that you don’t get caught unawares in your next meeting.
NEVER meet at a Starbucks!
I just have the worst luck ever at these cafes. It somehow excretes chic and forward thinking, but at the same time, cheap and quick. If ever someone appreciates your time and effort, it’s going to be at a proper meeting place, like their office. Or even better, a posh restaurant. Expect a big tip at the end of the night!
Expect an over-zealous e-mail invite.
If you receive the initial e-mail that has a much elaborated explanation on what the client wants to do and how “serious” he is about this project. BEWARE! Normally e-mails that talk about the future always has a slight link to “I don’t have the money now, but be sure that you can make some with me at a later time” tied to it.
If he/she stands up…that’s it.
I’ve counted the times people in meetings have stood up to give me a hand shake. I’d say 9/10 who does, are desperate! However, take this with a pinch of salt. They might just want you to notice how sincere they are to rip you off. Ok, ok…I’m being a pessimistic bitch!
This is the 1st red flag you need to look out for. When there are no budgets set, or even worst, when they say “Sky’s the limit”. Most often, this is just a way for them to gauge what you’ve got in your arsenal. Proper forecast and preparation normally would get you comments like “Are you sure this is needed?” or “I’ve got a couple of things covered, but I wanted to get your point of view”. It shows the effort put into the discussion.
The busy ant
These terms are over-used, and I have found it to be closely related to empty promises and the quiet-treatment post meetings. Phrases such as “I’ve been bogged down”, “It’s been a crazy week”, “I was on medical”, “I had this weird virus that put me out for a week”. So whenever you hear this, it means they are looking for help. And most of them time, it’s you to the rescue.
“When do you think you can get back to me with a timeline and budget?” – BURN!
“Ok guys I’ve got to follow protocol here, but I’ll see what I can do if you help me” – COVER ASS
“So what are you up to this weekend?” – SMALL TALK ESCAPE
“I’m looking at you guys to give me expert advice, I’m looking at something spectacular to come” – SNAKE ELIXIR SALESMAN
“Ok guys I got to run, I’m late for another meeting” – THE PRETENDER
So the next time you see the label HOT or COLD in that sales funnel sheet, be prepared to have your own set of rules for engagement with clients. And this comes with practise, which I have to sharpen now, since I’m down 15 dollars off a Starbucks bill that I don’t think I will get to account for.