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2003 October 2
by Malcolm Sleath

Reciprocity is the key to fixing meetings with new people. The meeting is of value because each party will learn something and leave the richer for the experience.

The pitch for the meeting is:

I have some experience that could be relevant to you and would like to hear your reaction.


I have some ideas you might find interesting. May I test them out on you?

Of course, the subject matter has to have significance for the other person, otherwise they could not justify the time for the meeting, but it will be seen as low risk because neither party will be burdened with a sense of obligation.

Where is the value in such meetings? Sometimes it emerges that you have something to offer that is needed now. But even the people who say ‘no’ or ask awkward questions are helping to design something for the future. When you have thought about it for a few days, you can ring with the aim of testing out some new ideas. If they are impressed with how much you have taken on board, they may be drawn to the idea of working with you.

The principle of reciprocity is not a fig leaf to disguise a sales meeting. It is a way of moving your business forward.