Coffee meetings are incredibly popular.
All types of businesses, from large corporations to fast-growing startups and (you guessed it) financial advisors, have embraced the let’s-meet-over-a-cup-of-joe meeting style.
There’s even a new open-source project for people to share “local coffee shops GREAT for business meetings”. <– Just started this month! Join the fun.
But what makes coffee meetings better than in-office meetings? We asked. Here’s some of what you said:
1.) Better (and more) coffee.
— MichaelKitces (@MichaelKitces) May 29, 2014
2.) You can focus on the meeting.
3.) It’s a neutral setting.
4.) Client’s mind (and yours) is in “real life” mode.
5.) They’re good enough to replace office meetings altogether.
6.) Can be fast and informative
@blueleafadvisor you are in a casual, non sales threatening setting. Can be fast and informative and who knows who else will see you
— Joseph A. Grutta, EA (@Atturg) June 15, 2014
7.) There are benefits and challenges…
Mike Langford, founder of FinservMarketing, saw the topic and sent me a direct email. With permission, here’s what he said:
Perfect timing. I just came from a coffee meeting.
As with anything in business, there are benefits and challenges with “the coffee meeting”.
The primary benefit for an advisor meeting with a prospect in a coffee meeting setting is that the neutral setting puts the prospect at ease. The prospect knows that the advisor isn’t going to try to close the deal over coffee so it’s easy for him or her to relax and just get to know the advisor.
The prospect knows that coffee meetings, by their very nature, are meant to be short and casual so there is also the benefit of knowing that they will be able to get the information they need and head off to the rest of their day.
Similarly, clients appreciate the relationship building, causal conversation that the coffee meeting offers. The more connected they feel to you, their advisor, the more likely they are to maintain the relationship and feel comfortable introducing you to others via referral. Also, meeting in a coffee shop near a client’s office is sure to create opportunities to be introduced to coworkers who also happen to be on their coffee run. Fish where the fish are as they say.
There are some challenges, too, and advisors should (i) be aware of them and (ii) observe the constraints they may put on the meeting itself.
1. You are meeting with your prospect, or client, in a public place within earshot of other people. You will not be able to discuss financial details or any other confidential information openly in the coffee shop environment.
2. Coffee meetings can run long if you aren’t careful. The meeting is in a casual setting so the conversation will naturally be more social than professional. Be sure you have a specific goal for the meeting. Make it simple and make sure the prospect or client is aware of the goal.
3. The coffee meeting uses a lot more time than a meeting in your office due to travel time and the start and re-start time required at your office before and after the meeting. To avoid losing a whole day’s productivity be sure you set a hard stop for the meeting. Better to have the prospect or client begging for more of your time than to realize you just wasted 3 hours chatting about everything under the sun.
Share your opinion!
“Coffee meetings are better than in-office meetings because…”
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