Be careful having lots of “good meetings”

Push for clear next steps and tangible commitments to truly gauge interest and progress.

A.T. Gimbel
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May 14, 2024

I have recently spoken with or read updates from entrepreneurs that reference lots of “good meetings.” While that may be true, be careful fooling yourself into what that often really means - that people are just being nice to you and telling you what you want to hear.

Wanting to hear the positive

As entrepreneurs we are usually positive people and see the world of opportunity. However, when talking to potential customers this can be misleading. We hear them say things like “this is interesting” “I could use that” and even “I would pay for that.” But in most cases, that is just them being nice (The Mom Test). Be careful thinking you are about to close a deal/partnership and have a massive sales pipeline from lots of “good meetings.”

Not pushing hard enough on why

When you hear those generic positive responses, push deeper into why they would do what they say. Offer them a way to act now on their response and see how they react. If they say yes, then keep moving forward. But if they say no, now you have something more tangible to learn why they said no. And early in the startup journey, learning the “No” is extremely important.

Not having clear next steps to move forward

If it truly was a good meeting, there should be immediate next steps to move the process forward. The “we will circle up internally and get back to you” usually means a no. Try and make sure you leave the meeting with clear next steps and something in your court that you can push forward to keep the conversation going.

Now there truly are good meetings, but be careful being fooled that sales/partnership/investment meetings were truly “good” without pushing hard enough to uncover the true customer perspectives. If they were good meetings you will push forward faster; if not, you will learn the true answer much quicker and have more time to iterate.

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