Despite what modern screen share jockeys will tell you, sometimes it takes a little face time to get a customer across the finish line.
Even the most analytical buyers can be influenced by a human connection, which is much easier to create after you’ve actually met someone in person.
Last week I shared a story with our friends at the Opps Group on how some face time saved a big deal at my former company.
In this post, I’ll dissect how we did this using the neighborhood technique.
What is the Neighborhood Technique?
The neighborhood technique is a low-risk way to propose an in-person meeting with someone you’re trying to close a deal with by telling them that you’re “already going to be in the neighborhood”
Once your contact confirms that they can meet, then you make plans to actually be “in the neighborhood”.
When you hear about guys getting on planes to close deals, they’re often using the neighborhood technique to put themselves in these situations [Click to tweet!]
This technique is perfect for when:
- You can’t get someone to commit to a meeting
- A deal is stalled
- You’re looking to expand existing deals or partnerships
- Getting ahead of big deals early before things can break down
Ideally, if the partner is really important, you get ahead of scenario 2 by executing scenario 4.
P.S. Want a script for reviving prospects that have gone cold that works like a charm?
Isn’t this the same as just proposing an in person meeting?
No, it’s not.
A lot of times when you explicitly propose a meeting, there is a connotation of expectation.
“Are they going to try and sell me something or pressure me into making a decision?”
The neighborhood technique sidesteps the expectation by making the impetus for the meeting the fact that you happen to be close by.
In a situation this coincidental...why not put a name to a face?!
The Neighborhood Technique in Action
Say you’re working on a deal in L.A. and for whatever reason, your contact has gone dark. You’ve sent a bunch of value adding followups, but there’s still no bites.
This is a great time for you to use the neighborhood technique:
I’m actually going to be in Los Angeles in three weeks on business and have a few hours of down time on Thursday and Friday.
Do you have 30 minutes to connect on either day?
I hear the [company] offices are pretty cool and it’d be great to finally meet in person!
NOW you may or may not have explicit plans to be in L.A. at this point. If you get a commitment to connect, then you make plans to be there.
If you don’t get a response, sometimes your best bet is sending a one sentence follow up saying something like:
Hey, I still have some down time on Thursday if you’re free for 20 minutes. Let me know
When The Meeting Goes Down...
It’s important that when you use this technique you need to actually be congruent in the meeting with how you positioned it.
It’s inappropriate to go in there and start hard selling someone immediately when you originally proposed swinging by to check out the office.
The initial focus of the interaction is strengthening the connection. From here you can lightly push on where you want to take things after you’ve settled into the meeting and have had a chance to calibrate with their demeanor. A lot of times people that have knowingly been pushing you off will tell you exactly what’s happening within the first five minutes of meeting them.
But How Do I Explain My Trip?
One potential factor to account for when using this technique is being able to explain the reason for your trip if it’s brought up in conversation. The odds of someone pressing you is unlikely, but nonetheless you should be prepared to answer the question in a genuine way:
“We have some partners out here that we wanted to see”
“I was getting together with some friends that live in the area”
...now they might not know that they are literally are the partner you are trying to see, but you get the point. You can also use this initial meeting as a launching point to set up other meetings after the fact.
The goal is to not appear uncomfortable when asked why you swung by the city or region in the first place; any answer that accomplishes this works
Whenever we bring up this tactic, a bunch of people poke their heads out with stories of when they’ve used this and it’s worked.
So I ask you...have you used the neighborhood technique before? Let us know what happened in the comments as well as any other similar tactics you’ve used for situations like this!