The Last Two Minutes

Machinations, dance routines or general obfuscations might plague the bulk of a meeting with a prospect. Yet never let them get the worse of you and lull you into a fatal switch off at the death.

Here’s an introspective exchange between two hardened interviewers of politicians:

Iain Dale: …even in half-hour interviews or hour-long interviews, it’s actually the answer they give in the last two minutes, that’s when you get your story.

Rachel Sylvester: That’s the Columbo approach…

In Sales too, a meeting key is certainly in how we shape the very last lines of the final act of discussion.

Seasoned sellers know the power of leaving a most potent powder well and truly dry until proceedings are just about concluded.

There’s the famed tv detective tactic. You leave your killer question to the post-end. A meeting epilogue. Appendage without fanfare. This could also be termed the hat-stand close.

American grouchy mac-wearing Columbo used to ‘forget’ his hat. Seemingly left in his quarry’s lair. Deliberately so he could faux-return to fetch it. After a grilling, the person questioned would breath easier, safe in the knowledge they’d ‘survived’. Relieved to have fended off any danger, now considered to have passed. Columbo would then turn back, reach for his headwear and say, “oh, just one more thing…”. Oxford’s legendary Morse did the very same, minus the hat ruse. This trusted trick would help reveal the decisive piece of the puzzle.

When a prospect guard is dropped, as with the elected representative, you will get a more candid response.

As you pack away your kit, you’ve shaken hands at the end, other’s in the room might be sparking irrelevant chitchat, there’s a chance to strike.

What list of highly effective, yet quick and simple to ask, questions do you have?

And if you don’t, then perhaps it’s time to prepare to make the most of that headline-making final two minutes.

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