Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

To Meet Somebody Too Busy to See You, First Study Them Online

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Every successful person is busy struggling to manage countless competing priorities in all aspects of professional and personal life. Staff meetings, pitch meetings, vendor meetings, customer meeting. Then there's the actual day-to-day work and even (gasp) a personal life. A perpetually packed calendar just comes with the territory. But for up-and-coming entrepreneurs, those at the higher level with said packed calendars are a treasure trove of knowledge and experience -- and maybe even a deal or two.

Related: Landing Your First Customers

But here's the thing: busy, experienced entrepreneurs, for the most part, aren't too keen on speculative meetings. Speculation takes time and time is money. Nine times out of 10, speculative meetings do not yield any ROI, especially in the short-term. So working with the assumption that a busy person (aka, "the target") isn't going to take a speculative meeting, the upstart entrepreneur needs to do something remarkable: they need to make the meeting request impossible to decline. They need to identify the target's favorite spot.

Every person has a favorite spot. Some even have a few, depending on the occasion. What do I mean by favorite spot? Here's a personal example. Arcweb HQ is in the heart of the N3RD Street Community in Old City Philadelphia. A few doors down from us is High Street on Market. It's my spot for caffeinated beverages or a good breakfast, and it's a block away from my office. Since it's my favorite spot, I'm usually going there fairly often anyway.

There's the window of opportunity that can help the upstart entrepreneur make his or her pitch nearly impossible to decline.

The digital content we generate gives tremendous insight into what we like, what we do, where we go. Obviously, the companies that provide these services know that. This data is also useful for those in search of information that can help them make a meeting pitch impossible to say no to.

Related: Is Your Introduction Ready?

Let's say an up-and-coming entrepreneur in Philadelphia wants to meet with me, cold. First, they should see if there's a LinkedIn commonality that could facilitate an introduction. That option notwithstanding, they should scour the web and public social media profiles. It's not hard to find out what I'm involved with and where I hang out: FinTech, Philly Startup Leaders, Mobile Monday, etc. It's also easy to find out my routines. It's even easier to find my email address. From there, it's all about creating context for the meeting, speaking the same language and getting straight to the point. Here's an example:

Chris - I wanted to quickly reach out to you and say hello. I'm relatively new to Philadelphia and am working on a product in the mobile payments space. As such, I thought you'd be a good guy to get to know. If you're game, happy to buy you a coffee. High Street on Market? 8AM? You pick the date and we'll make it happen. Here's me on LinkedIn, for reference. Talk soon, Steve

Unless there's some glaring reason why I wouldn't take this meeting, I'm taking it. There's virtually no downside, it's only 30 minutes, and it's at my favorite spot. At the very least, it's a free drink.

But even if Steve here couldn't peg High Street on Market as a favorite spot of mine, he knows where I work, and can just suggest one of the good coffee spots in the immediate vicinity of Arcweb HQ. Because even if he picked, say, Old City Coffee (which is also right around the corner) or Starbucks (a block north), it's a gesture that shows he is trying to make it convenient for me. This creates context and familiarity which means Steve has already started off on the right foot.

Related: 4 Easy Steps to Never Sitting Through Another Pointless Meeting

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks