If you ever want to start an interesting or ice-breaking conversation, ask a couple how they first met. You may hear a bizarre story or something as simple as “We were high school sweethearts”. Meeting a Goliath can vary too. The first encounter can be on a tradeshow floor where you or someone from the Goliath’s organization simply exchange business cards with a handshake and a “Let’s get together sometime” comment. It can also start through a Google search or through a third-party introduction by a customer, prospect, investor, or just about anyone else.
Independent of how you meet and whether there was a unilateral or bilateral awareness, someone must take the introductory lead. In most situations, it is you, the “David” company that will be the initiator of the next-step interaction. We all know the adage about the importance of first impressions. Without a doubt, that first impression is critical in getting the attention of a Goliath. From the very first encounter, you must ensure that the person (not the company) quickly understands how any engagement will be to their benefit. Delivering a simple, easily understood and remembered message is critical. In all likelihood, the person involved in the first encounter will not be the key individual that will carry the relationship forward. Your message, therefore, must not only be easily remembered but it must also be easily repeated by that person. The article in this series, 3.030201, “Elevator Pitches Should Work in Two Story Buildings” further describes this concept. Focus on making the first person you encounter your ally, so they can begin to lead you through the corporate maze that is part of every Goliath.
Not only should you be able to deliver your simple message, you must work with others who can also deliver it if they encounter a potential Goliath. All of us have done this in our personal lives. Think about how many times you have said to a friend or colleague, “You should meet so and so. They…”. No one can describe your business better than you can. Take the time to refine your message so others can deliver it. Equally important, tell others which and what types of Goliaths you would like to meet. It may seem obvious to you but may not be obvious to others.
The previous comment about the importance of first impressions is further described in the article, 3.030301, “Getting to NO Before Getting to KNOW”. That article discusses the notion that we are inundated with data from a variety of sources including spam, robocalls, junk mail, and legitimate requests. Our tendency is to quickly dispose of what we think of as “junk” before spending time on what we think may be of interest. As Melissa Gordan, an expert communications consultant says, “Be Clear, Concise, and Compelling” (). Those three words should be your fundamental focus no matter how you first met a Goliath. In every subsequent encounter, you should focus on those same three words. Invariably with large Goliaths, you will find it necessary to repeat your message many times. Add a fourth “C” to the list: Consistent.