Business Meetings – 10 Tips for Getting Them Off to the Right Start

Expert AdviceEveryone knows how important it is to meet with prospect clients face to face. Going out on client meetings is still the part of the sales consultant’s job that I miss the most and the part that makes we want to return to running my own desk one day. Client meetings are such a great way to gain commitment. They are also very powerful for cementing relationships further. Given this, clearly we should be getting out on as many meetings as possible to build a quality pipeline of work. One of the key, and oft overlooked, areas of a client meeting is the preparation before-hand. I have put together a quick checklist for you to run through before going out to see a client.

1. Who else works at this business that might be worth meeting? Book it now! Much easier to get to meet someone given you will already be there and so much better for the planet!

2. Research the client you are meeting – Who are they? What is their background? What are their expectations of the meeting?

3. Set an agenda – Write it out if you wish but none the less make sure you have set one in your own mind. Don’t be starchy, present it verbally with warmth and empathy. Why do some people feel the need to turn into business automatons when they are conducting a meeting??

4. Look smart and appropriate. Personal presentation rarely wins the business though can quite often be responsible for losing it! Polish your shoes, brush your hair (and teeth!!), shave (chaps!), avoid ostentatious designer labels as dress to impress does not apply here. I can tell you many a story of business being lost due to flashy jewellery, accessories or clothing. Honestly! A £100,000 contract is NOT awarded due to “young” sales people in expensive suits and even more expensive cufflinks.

5. Set clear objectives in your mind that are commitment centric – get the business! If you already have the business look at how you can increase the amount of commitment you get from this client.

6. The most important foundation for success is showing some empathy – remember to be human and be interested in the other person! Because they are also a human being – Don’t forget that!

7. Take the right stuff – Pen (duh, I have forgotten this in the past and had to borrow one from the client), paper, plenty of business cards, a list of questions, location map, “hot” CVs, testimonials from clients and candidates, terms of business, corporate literature (if you have to), examples of adverts you have placed, recent assignments completed, job forms, SLA/PSL, folder (to put it all in!) and your brain! This is the most important, there are sales people out there who follow rigid agendas that eventually bypass the need for a brain.

8. Plan your journey, incorporating the fact that there will be some sort of hold up. Make sure you know where to park as not all companies have a car park. There is no excuse for being late for a client meeting.

9. Research which other companies are in the area – Take literature to drop off by hand, to those companies, to then follow up later with a phone call.

10. Remember the name of the person you are meeting!! Honestly now, how many of you have walked into reception to announce your arrival only to suddenly forget the name of the person you are seeing? The internal dialogue quickly kicks in and tells you how stupid you are so I don’t have too…..

Successful meetings begin before you leave your office. Some solid planning and preparation for 30-60 minutes will repay massively once you get there. The impact on your own confidence will shine through to the person you are meeting and you are much more likely to achieve what something that both parties are happy with.

Related Articles:

Selling Better – How to develop more new business

8 Powerful Client Meetings to Accelerate Your Billings

Prospecting for Business – Winning New Customers

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