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How to Really Prepare for Meeting with a Decision-Maker

Back in 1994 I attended a Tony Robbins seminar. It was held at the Navy Pier in Chicago. Five or six hours into the session, Tony had us in a state where he could ask these two questions: “Think about something you always wanted to do, but for some reason, you never did it. Write it down.” Then, “Think about something you always wanted to have, but for some reason, you never bought. Write it down as well.” Within six months I earned my private pilot’s license. Six months after that I owned a single-engine Cessna and had earned my instrument rating. Now that’s what I call motivation. Thanks,  again, Tony.

But Tony didn’t just motivate the audience. He gave us some real business value.  Here is something I learned that day and have used dozens of times since: BEND-WIMP.

Tony explained that when meeting with an important executive for the first time, we need to have a pretty comprehensive understanding of who they are and what’s on their mind. BEND-WIMP is an acronym for Tony’s checklist.  Here it is:

B – Beliefs. What are the person’s beliefs about you, your company, your product? It would be really helpful to know that before you meet the person.

E – Evaluate. How does the person evaluate? Gut feel? Dependence on a recommendation from a trusted advisor? What questions might they ask?

N – Needs. What are their business needs? What will enable them to achieve their business plan?

D – Desire. What do they want on a personal level? (I think about Larry Ellison and the America’s Cup.)

W – Wounds. Where have they gone off the track. Mistakes, errors in strategy, execution, judgment? What subjects should you stay away from discussing?

I – Interests. What are their personal interests? What common ground might you have with them?

M – Mentors.  Who are their mentors? Whose books do they read? What business leaders do they emulate? I won a new customer years ago because I found out that the CEO had all his people read Who Moved the Cheese? I read the book on the plane on the way to the sales call.

P – Proud. What are they proud of? Accomplishments, big wins, etc.?

LinkedIn, which wasn’t around in 1994, is a great tool for executing your BEND-WIMP process. I find people in my network who have worked directly or even several levels down from my targeted executive. As I fill in my checklist, a clear picture of that person emerges. I’m sure you can imagine how much more effective than an ad-hoc Internet search this process is.

BEND-WIMP has paid big dividends for me. Give it a try.

This post was originally written for, and published in, Top Sales World magazine.

Photo Source: TonyRobbins.com