Screening Your Prospects With “Speed Dating”

Rob Levinson in Startup Journal:

You’ve probably heard of speed dating, a service that introduces singles to a room full of potentially suitable companions, by allowing pairs exactly eight minutes (or as few as three) for conversation… and the chance to quickly size up chemistry. The best part is the “instant-out clause” — every eight minutes a bell rings and participants switch partners so no time is wasted on obvious mismatches.

I’ve started to do the equivalent when I meet prospects: sizing them up on whether they’ll be great clients or pains in the neck in about eight minutes. I follow a script that forces the prospect to reveal his or her understanding of marketing (my consulting specialty), attitudes about working with consultants, approach to work and ability to communicate.

Rob Levinson use these questions to judge how rewarding and sustainable a business relationship will be:

  • Does the prospect have a sense of humor?
  • Is the business story compelling?
  • Will the assignment propel my career?
  • Will I be treated like a vendor or partner?
  • Are they responsive?

Thanks for the link, Tim.

I originally, and accidentally, titled this post “Screwing Your Prospects with ‘Speed Dating’.” Is that really what happens when you’re too picky about who you do business with?


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