Grab Them in 15 Seconds or Leave – 6 Steps

People are lazy, vain and selfish, according to Scott Belsky, co-founder of Behance.

How do you engage your audience in the first 15 seconds of a customer meeting?

I read an article about the critcal 15 second window within which you either retain or lose a customer (click the link at the bottom of this post for the full article). It reminded me of a customer meeting I had just yesterday. Within the first 15 seconds of our meeting, the client looked at his watch. I had 2 choices: either start talking at 120 mph and make zero sense OR responsd to his concern that the meeting would not deliver a good return on his investment of time spent with me. I chose Option B.

Assess the time allotment. I asked how much time he had to give me, so I could adjust accordingly. “One hour.” Excellent.

State the agenda. I tend to speak in top line concepts. Because no 2 customer meetings are the same in my work, this allows me to gauge interest in a particular topic, and only then do I dive deeper into that area.

Make them speak. Because I’m still making initial meetings with some customers, I like to start by asking them what they liked about my predecessor’s work and what they would like to see done differently. The message is, I’m yours, mold me however you like. Most frequent response is, “Tell me what you can do for me.” Ah, an invitation to speak, wonderful!

Floating downstream now. I’ve already proven my willingness to listen. I’ve already solicited customer input. Chances are, they’ve given our meeting little forethought and just sit back and wait to be impressed. If I impress, I’ll get another meeting. If I don’t, I probably won’t.

Demonstrate value. Fortunately, my employer’s deliverables impress. It’s up to me to continue to master the tools I sell, but I couldn’t ask for better tools. I’m still at the learning stage best described by saying that my customers know lots of things I’ve yet to learn. Luckily, they like sharing their expertise and I make a good sponge. This is the meat of the meeting. So long as I deliver well here, I will be invited back.

The meeting went well. After 2 hours, the customer did his next time check. Same guy that told me 2 hours earlier, he had only 1 hour for me. Success.

Two hours is a long meeting. Some people need a potty break. Others are surely having email detox shakes. I was satisfied and began to break down and pack up.

Recap follow up action steps. In 60 seconds or less, ideally.


If you’d like to understand more about the fascinating nature of human behavior, and how to harness it toward Sales and Networking Success, click below:


About Melanie M. Morris
Broker of Trust and Authenticity I'm really a sales executive, but I'd rather identify with these ideals rather than to simply say...I'm a seller.

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