Before meeting a new client, preparation is the most important part. If you want to win the battle for a potential client you need to present all your advantages and proof him or her that you are the best. Regardless of the form of meeting – restaurant, office or launch – a good first impression and a compelling offer are the key to success. How to succeed with a big client meeting? Here is a short guide.
You can NEVER forget about your meeting. This rule seems to be obvious, but it’s worth to remember. Nothing is as important as the first impression. To avoid an awkward situation, you should set up more than one alarm or notification. Nowadays, you can use plenty of tools. For instance, Google Calendar helps you show up at the right day and right hour. Tell your assistant about a meeting or simply use your notebook. Do everything in your power to not overlook it.
Your appearance sets the tone for the entire meeting. If you want to gain customer’s respect, wear appropriate clothes. You have to keep in mind that your clothing can affect your paycheck. Clients are less likely to discuss pricing if someone looks unprofessional. Women (and sometimes men) should choose jewelry that is not conspicuous. Accessories like an everyday purse, sunglasses, or smartphone case might not be appropriate.
Remember, even small details can have an impact. That’s why you should make folders about your services and bright and fun sticky pads for people to write on. Preload your website or digital portfolio on your laptop or tablet. Ensure that you have paper and a working writing equipment to take notes. Put your business cards in the location where you’ll see them so that you won’t forget to hand them to your client later.
The well-prepared pitch is a key which opens a door to success. You have to be flexible. The pitch has to suit to client’s needs. Tailor your pitch to their project while suggesting extra services that complement it. Practice your pitch by writing an outline of the meeting and by simulating a meeting with your friend or a front of the mirror. Those easy tricks allow you to get a client.
Allow the customer to ask questions, but you can ask them too. Good communication between you and your client is fundamental. Ask your questions to assess how serious they are, what are their deadlines, how will they be going to communicate with you, what else may they need, and so on. Don’t forget to specify your objectives: do you want to get a definite follow-up meeting, date and time, to get an introduction to the CEO, or would you rather refer to an associate? If you make your expectations clear, you’ll reach your aims faster.
The punctuality is a professional habit. Do not allow your potential clients wait for you. That’s why you have to show up earlier. It’s unprofessional to let your clients sit alone, waiting for you. If such a situation happens, you can be sure that you have lost a potential client. Avoid that. Otherwise, customers will avoid you.
All important meetings are stressful, but you need to relax and treat this appointment like your next challenge. Don’t panic if things do not go your way. You have to prepare your B-plan for a situation like that. Do not blame yourself if a client isn’t interested in your product. Sometimes no matter how much research you do or how pumped up you get, the customer won’t buy the product. Many times, persistence pays off, but you can always learn from your mistakes.
Some meetings have higher stakes than others. When you have to face a big meeting, be clear about what you want to achieve. Also, you have to devise a range of workable alternatives and plan your perspective. Adequate preparation will allow you to think more when the inevitable curve ball comes your way in a meeting.
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