“Option A is not available. so let's just kick the shit out of Option B."
- Sheryl Sandberg
I was just starting out with Steiner Sports and I finally got a meeting with the publisher of Playboy Magazine. (In those days, just getting a meeting was a successful day...)
I sat down and starting talking about a marketing idea that would be great as added value to companies that bought ads in the magazine. After four minutes the publisher stopped me.
"Brandon, this won't work and I am not interested. I didn't want you to go much longer and then me say, 'Let me think about it,' and then we waste time. Do you have a Plan B?"
I quickly replied yes and moved to my next best idea that i had thought about and planned out before the meeting.
I ran with it and he bought it...
That was a quick lesson. I hadn't necessarily anticipated I would have to go there, but it was a good thing I had something there. Make sure you always have a second idea and a backup plan. Plan B can be just as important (and in many cases even better) than Plan A.
I also learned that when I gave someone else a meeting that I should never bullshit them. If I know after three minutes that I am not interested, I have to tell them I am not interested and ask if they have another idea. Right away they'll know where they stand.
It may not be that comfortable, but trust me, it is worth it to be honest and upfront so expectations are not high when there is no or little chance we will be able to do business.
Have a Plan B and make sure you know as much about the person you are presenting to or meeting with before you see them.
It always amazes me how often I meet with people and they don't know the first thing about me or my company...and this was on the books for two-three weeks!
Yes, I get it. You have this idea and you really want to share it, but meetings are never about just one person.
Remember, it's not what you know, but what you know about whom. This is the part that will always help you--not just with a plan, but with Plan B!