There will come a time in every business person’s life when they will need to work hard in order to convince a potential client that their company is the right one to buy from. This could be at the very outset of an entrepreneur’s journey - building an initial client list by convincing people that your product or service is one which offers value or solves a problem. Alternatively, it might be that your business is already established and you (or your employers) feel that the time is right to poach a large client from one of your competitors. Either way, it can be a high-pressure situation with a lot of money riding on the outcome of your meeting. It can be the smallest factors that make the difference in the end, so read on for a few hints that should help you give the right impression.
Picking an Appropriate Venue
Certain venues are stereotypically associated with the attraction of new clients. These don’t tend to vary much across market sectors or even different parts of the world. In fact, it seems likely that at least a few golf courses would go under if it wasn’t for the business people and professionals who treat the sport as a means to conduct casual meetings. Likewise, every city will feature certain high-end restaurants which are habitually used to ‘wine and dine’ customers, both new and old. If you, your client or your industry are traditionally-minded, it may well be that you should stick to these common practices. Those who like to take a different approach could benefit from thinking outside the box. The young entrepreneur behind a social media business, for example, would probably be far more comfortable with and interested in playing virtual golf than its real-life counterpart. You will need to target the venue to the individual. It could well be that somebody is sick of all the buzzwords and will be receptive to a refreshingly casual chat, in a very ordinary bar, drinking a very ordinary beer.
Sweat the Small Stuff
There are some things that this article can’t help you with - like making sure that your product is good and your message is concise. However, whilst it’s up to you to worry about these weighty issues, you can be reminded not to forget the small things. Surveys (and common sense) consistently reveal that people will come back to a provider who makes them feel comfortable and valued, even if their prices are higher than competitors’. So what do you need to do? Maintain eye contact. Use a firm handshake. Address them by name; people love to hear their own name and it sets you apart from most of the individuals they will encounter that day. After the meeting is over, you can still make them feel valued. Send them a handwritten note thanking them for their attendance and expressing hope that you will see them again. Some people would call these actions simple good manners, but the fact remains that many fail to perform them.
Make Sure They Remember You
For obvious reasons, you need to ensure that the potential client won’t just forget about you and your meeting as soon as they head back to the office. Try and find an excuse to give them something with your name and number on it. Not just a note - these can easily be buried under a pile of work or mistaken for trash and thrown out. For example, you could write your personal number in a book of headed paper. Alternatively, you could order a stash of promotional pens and ensure that they hang onto one after using it during your meeting.