When meeting a new client, first impressions are crucial. The client will take time to hear what you have to say, and they will provide you an opportunity to win their business. Thus, you need to bring your top game.
To win the client, you need good preparation. You must carve out an agenda to lead the conversation subtly while being sufficiently flexible to let it flow where it wills.
Before meeting the client, you must know your prospect very well so that none of the questions you ask can be answered by doing an online search. This will help you use the meeting to gain unique knowledge and get an edge that will culminate in a sale. Here are a few tips to help you prepare to meet a new client.
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Do Your Research
Always regard meeting a new client as a job interview. Remember, just like a hiring manager, they are likely meeting some of your competitors before finally deciding. So, to know the best thing to say or do to persuade your client that you’re the best person for the job, you need to take time to do extensive research. Your research should tell you who your prospect is and what they need.
Before your first meeting, make a brief phone call to your client that will help you know about their goals, project, and budget. During your conversation, take some notes that you can review later.
Here’s how you can research your client and prepare to meet them.
- Learn about their company and industry.
- Find the most suitable package or service for their needs and budget.
- Collect proof of relevant projects you’ve accomplished to show you’re a good fit.
- Note down important questions to ask about their project.
Though it sounds odd, do a social media or Google search on your client before meeting them. This is vital for building a personal connection at your first meeting. You might find out that you attended the same university or that you are both fans of the same soccer team.
Create an Onboarding Package
Prepare a simple guide or brochure of a few pages about your company, services, payment guidelines, testimonials, general procedures, and a checklist for the meeting or onboarding process. You need to send this document to your client before the meeting so they have sufficient time to read it and prepare for questions.
This welcome pack helps ensure you cover every important aspect of the initial meeting. It also shows the value you place on transparency and clear communication. However, if you’re unsure about what to offer your client, you may have to take some sales courses to gain extensive knowledge of how to handle client onboarding.
Even after setting an agenda, distractions are likely to derail a meeting. You can get off track or run out of time before discussing important topics. To stick to the agenda, plan your meetings in an area with minimal distractions. If you observe that the conversation is veering off the topic or your client is concentrating excessively on minute details of a single point, take a moment to bring your meeting back on track.
Note down any comments or questions the participants might have and offer to follow up with responses to their questions. Then embark on the next topic on your agenda.
A friendly engagement with your prospects can also cause a distraction. If you expect that this can occur, create some time to catch up on the agenda after discussing the project topics. This will enable you to direct any conversational deviations back to business matters.
Listen More, Speak Less
Instead of pitching about who you are and what you do, allow your clients to talk about their company. Learn as much as possible about their position in the market, their uniqueness, their strategic goals, their problems or pain points, and the reason they’re meeting with you.
During this time, take notes and ask questions to learn about your client’s world. Get crucial information from them to help you provide them with the best solution. Doing this also shows your excellent communication and listening skills.
Address Their Particular Pain Points
Now that you understand exactly what’s giving your client sleepless nights, you can determine how your company can help them in solving these pain points. This is where you can use a case study to show how you’ve dealt with a similar problem for another client.
Use statistics, facts, images, and videos where possible because clients love to see tangible results.
All excellent business relationships start with a remarkable first meeting. This means that you must prepare to amaze your clients from the start. To do this, focus on creating a great first impression. Show up to your first meeting enthusiastic and well prepared. If all goes well, you will hear from your client in the next few days, and you’ll have gained new business.