My track record of getting appointment with prospects is pretty good but there are times the pitch just doesn't go over very well. I always do my research and have a lot of ideas ready to pitch but, more often than not, they just don't seem to connect.
Experienced consultants develop protocols for much of what they do. After many years of delivering similar services, they have honed efficient setup and processes for delivering most of their services. For some consultants, however, this push for well-defined processes seems not to apply for prospect meetings.
You say you do your research on the prospect ahead of time but you also say you arrive with lots of potential ideas. This may be where you run astray. Think of it from the client's perspective. They have lots of issues to deal with but probably only a very few they are prepared to talk to you about. To a prospect, your talking about a lot of things you could do for them sounds like you are selling yourself, not solving their problem. If you really have done enough research, you will know the top three issues the prospect needs to address. If you are the right person for the job, then you will have a very tightly scripted pitch to get right to the point of pain. Doing that will keep prospects focused on what you can do for them, not what they need to do for you.
Tip: If you can't identify 1-3 issues the prospect has a passion for, has a need to fix, and lacks the capability in house to solve, then you don't know enough. It may be that you could meet with the prospect to listen and gather more information, but it is better to understand the issue well enough to be able to craft your rather robust process to solve it. Finally, it is worth the effort to dry run your pitch. Don't consider practicing your pitch something a novice consultant does. The confidence you gain from a perfectly practiced pitch wears off onto the prospect. © 2008 Institute of Management Consultants USA