As a business owner, you will have to engage with many people, whether over the phone, video chat or in person. The purpose of some of these meetings will be to determine whether working with each other is mutually beneficial. Therefore, you want to start off by presenting yourself in a professional and quality way. Consider what those potential clients are looking for. Also, consider what kind of image you present. Though you should always be yourself, it’s OK to customize your appearance and presentation for various potential clients. Here are some quick ways to impress potential clients at your first meeting.
We tend to book meetings into our schedules well in advance of the actual date. So there really is no excuse to be unprepared. Do research ahead of time, and even prepare a mini problem-solving scenario to show your ability. I also recommend preparing various types of sales questions and be prepared to share some ways your company can improve your potential client’s life or business.
Choose a Good Meeting Place
If you are having a meeting in your potential client’s professional space, you needn’t worry about this step. But if you’re hosting the meeting, you want to meet either at your office or where you feel comfortable and professional. If you don’t have an office, you could meet at a quiet place such as a coffee shop or restaurant. If the meeting requires equipment like a projection screen or needs to accommodate a large group, consider renting a conference room at a hotel or restaurant.
Good time keeping says a lot about you as a person and a business owner. Being early to a meeting shows potential clients that you value their time and are looking forward to the meeting. It’s also a good idea to be there first, as this allows you to chill for a few minutes and do any final preparations. If you are having a lunch meeting, you could even get their order in advance to save time.
While casual clothing might be fine for most days of building your company, consider looking your best for potential client meetings. Think of it as a job interview because it really is. This is your opportunity to shine and show ’em what you got. Take into consideration what this person or company is hiring you for. Dress appropriately for the industry and the person with whom your meeting.
Listen More than You Talk
Potential clients want and need to be heard. After all, they are considering hiring you because they need some kind of help. Listening to every word they say and hearing beyond the words will get you more brownie points than you can imagine.
People share a lot about themselves and situations with the words and inflections they use. This goes along with body language as well. Watch them carefully for nervousness or things that make them emotional or angry. This is especially useful for meeting with potential clients that you will have an influence in their personal lives or businesses.