How do you ask for a coffee meeting?

You know you need to stay visible with clients and your professional network.  At the same time, you understandably don’t want to appear needy or salesy.  And you know that your contacts are busy.  The trick is to balance all of this so you can ask someone for a coffee meeting in the most effective but least intrusive way?

In my experience some lawyers and accountants can let their BD down by:

– Not investing enough time and energy into staying visible with contacts between open matters.  As a result, their relationships can weaken over time.

– Being too English!  They are either too indirect in their initial approach or don’t follow up when their initial email goes unanswered.

– Not providing a reason for their invitation to make their offer of a coffee an attractive one.  Just missing this one crucial detail can lead to missed opportunities.

So how do you ask someone for a coffee meeting?  Here are my top 3 practical tips:

1. Get to the point

Just say what you want and when you want it. Instead of saying “it would be good to catch up, would you like to meet for a Zoom call?”, say:

“I have something I want to share with you/ get your advice on, is there a good time for you meet for a coffee on [date/time 5-14 days’ time] or [alternative in 5-14 days’ time]?”

2. Do your research to find a reason to meet

When it comes to find a reason for a coffee some of these may be helpful:

– Use Google news alerts to find out what is going on for your contact, their organisation, or market.

– Check their ‘News’ page – have they changed their ownership, bought a new business or been shortlisted for an award?

– Find people in your network you might be able to introduce to your contact.

– Use anniversaries, e.g. 1 year after buying or selling a business.

– Use a recent legislative or regulatory changes so you can highlight the implications for your contact.

– Invite them to join you at an upcoming social or business event.

3. Develop personal relationships with your contacts so that they want to meet you

The more you build the personal side of your relationship, the more likely your contacts will be to accept your invitations for coffee.

This is not a difficult task.  Just use the 5 minutes at the beginning and end of your meetings to ask them about their weekend, their families, their weekend or what they’ve got coming up over the summer. 

Simply taking an interest in their interests will give you the perfect start point to take your working relationship forward.

Arranging coffee meetings and following up properly is something we cover in great detail in both the BD training and BD coaching we provide for lawyers, accountants, barristers, IP attorneys and architects.  Would you to like to find out more?

Published by sizetenandahalfboots

Douglas is a director of Size 10½ Boots, a specialist business development agency that works solely with the professional services, helping firms grow by winning more new clients and more work from the clients they already have. Although every project is different our work generally falls into one of three camps - strategic marketing support, BD training and 1on1 coaching and independent client research.

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