You only have 12 hours to make an impact

In the FMCG world, how many meetings per year do you get with your key customers?  It can range from once a week (50 at best) to once a quarter (4), but 12 is the typical number, usually every month.  Your customer on the other hand is probably taking between 20 and 40 meetings a week with suppliers – so you have to pit your 12 against their 1000+.  You have to stand out in 12, and remember that 150 other meetings with your competitors will happen before you see them again

Usually each meeting lasts around an hour, so on simple maths you have 12 hours per year to deliver your objectives with the customer and make progress.  Just 12 hours.

If we only have 12 hours, we have to make it count.  Here is how to make it count.

1. Reference the Past, don’t dwell in it.  If you have 12 hours a year to make a difference should you really spend a significant portion talking about the past – category performance, what happened, etc? You can’t change it.  You can reference it, but send a summary in advance, make a shortlist of the impact, DON’T spend precious time discussing it, as 12 hours suddenly becomes 6.

2. Make it Simple & Easy to do.  If your customer has 1000+ meetings and in every meeting,  they are asked to commit to 5 things, that’s a to do list of 5000 a year! Not going to happen.  You need to make your meetings count, but focus on a small number of things, done well.  The execution needs to be easy to communicate – this is going to require internal discussion at the customer, and needs to look and feel simple to do.

3. Drive a conversation, not a presentation. You need to inspire your customer to action, so not only does this need to focus on them, and be about them, it needs to be delivered as a conversation not a series of PowerPoint charts.  A short, compelling story is required, with clear benefits to the customer and shopper, and clarity that this drives the customer strategy – not just your brand. Remember if its starts with your brand, or your brand is in the title, IT IS about you.

If you want to spend some time thinking about how to maximise your time with your customers and make a positive impact, then get in touch:

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