Someone once told me that the coffee meeting is the Swiss Army knife of networking.
It’s a great way to meet new people, share information, and build a relationship. It’s also essential when you have a small business—it’s likely that you’ll be meeting clients for potential projects or when exploring the possibility of working together. Plus, coffee is universal—it’s a much more comfortable setting than a restaurant.
However, it is likely that the person you’re meeting has some expectations of you, and as a small business owner, you should be serious about what you’re doing. Today, I share 5 pro tips on having an awesome coffee meeting.
1. Don’t Waste Their Time
Depending on what you’re looking for, please do not “pick their brain” or see if there’s an opportunity to get to know each other. This shows that you’re not clear on what you’re looking for, and ultimately wastes the other person’s time. This is a clear no-no when creating a relationship.
Instead, show what you stand for, do the research, and don’t make them think.
- Introduce yourself
- What knowledge do you have about this person (or company)? What value do they provide? How have they helped you with your business?
- Be specific about what you’re looking for.
- Provide times that you can commit to speaking with the person.
Tip: If this person is out of reach, there’s skype available — which ultimately may be a better fit for people who are busy, and don’t have the time to go out.
2. Don’t be a Taker
"Don’t be a taker; healthy relationships require balance. Give with your words and be extra generous with your deeds." - Steve Maraboli
If you’re meeting someone for coffee—whether it’s for a job opportunity, business, or exchanging advice—don’t take their value without giving gratitude. The consequences are not worth it, and can ultimately ruin future relationships.
This used to be a huge dilemma of mine because people would constantly ask me to meet up for coffee and “pick my brain”. As much as I love to help and provide value for other people’s business endeavors, it was draining, time-consuming, and exhausting. Especially when meeting with those who never bought my service or product because it was too expensive, yet they would grab my free stuff — I knew I had to learn how to say no.
Tip: Be kind. Be generous. Be respectful.
3. Don’t be on Time
Instead, arrive 10 minutes early. It shows that:
- You respect their time
- You respect their value
- You respect the relationship
I once met up with a client and noticed that she ordered hot water—she preferred organic tea to coffee. Therefore, the second time we met up, I ordered hot water before she arrived — which is awesome, because we were able to kick off the meeting the right away without any awkwardness and waiting.
Tip: Find a spot, and maybe — if you know their cup of java — order for them. Take the time to review any notes to prepare for an awesome coffee meeting.
4. Don’t let them Pay
In relation to the point: Don’t be on Time — offer to pay. It was your idea to meet and grab coffee. It’s fair that you cover the cost, and please, don’t argue about who’s paying or not.
Tip: Save your receipts for tax-season.
5. Don’t be Confused
Do the research, and understand where you’re coming from. Are you looking for job opportunities? If yes, what would you like to be doing? Being specific about what you’re looking for helps the coffee meeting to be more productive. It leaves the other person with less work to do in having to figure out what you’re looking for.
Tip: Do some research beforehand and write down any questions that you may have. Also, take notes!
Bonus. Don’t wait for their Feedback
Instead, follow-up with the person within 24-48 hours. It can be as straightforward as an email sharing your gratitude, or a small gesture like a Thank-You card in the mail. A little gesture goes a long way and ultimately, helps them to remember you!
Tip: Think of 1-3 people that you’ve met and felt grateful for their time, and e-mail them to follow-up.
Special Thanks to Selena Soo who has taught me valuable lessons.
If you're ready to take your business to the next level, I highly suggest taking her current program Get Known, Get Clients (currently open now)—she will change your life! Working with her this year in her INFLUENCE program has been game-changer. Through her—I learned that making connections, communication and giving value does not have t be hard nor impossible (I've even reached out to high influencers like Nisha Moodley and more)! Selena gives soundproof, innovative and simple tasks on making a big impact—effortlessly.