Your first impression is often your last, especially when you are dealing with clients because when you have a meeting with a client, you will only have one chance to prove your point and convince the client to do business with you. Every second is crucial because researchers have shown that people tend to make first impressions within a few seconds of meeting. Therefore, no matter if your meeting is pre-planned or if it’s impromptu, it is crucial to make the right impression with a new potential client.
For this reason, there are some dos and don’ts of meetings that you should keep in mind to ensure that you make the right impression. Keep in mind that you will have an added advantage if the meeting is pre-scheduled because, in that case, you can take some additional steps to ensure that you make a good first impression. Some tips that can help you in this regard are:
1. Set up a proper meeting place
The time and place of the meeting play a crucial role in how it progresses. For example, if you are holding a casual follow-up meeting, a lunch meeting at a fancy restaurant would help create a formal yet comfortable situation where you and your client can interact freely. However, if you are meeting a client in some foreign country, and there are too many things at stake, then consider renting a corporate meeting space. There are centers around the world that provide corporate meeting halls or conference rooms for rent. An example is The Executive Centre, which has branches in several major cities in Australia, India, China, Japan, etc. They have conference and meeting spaces equipped with state-of-art technology and experts who can help set up the place. Holding a meeting at such an executive space will help relay a good first impression on your client.
2. Do your research
Several different things can help in making the first impression. But nothing beats being completely knowledgeable and prepared for the meeting. Preparing for the meeting by researching the client or the company can give you more ideas about how you can make a better impression on them. Therefore, instead of attending a meeting “cold” or without any preparation, do your homework and understand the client and their working ideology. Needless to say, it will particularly impress them if you show that you know and understand them. It gives your client the impression that you are eager to build a business relationship with them.
3. Find some common ground
The basis of a good impression is to establish a common ground between yourself and your client. Therefore, research the client or the company on different networks such as LinkedIn, and learn about their past activities, interest, and hobbies. Use your findings to find a link between yourself and your client because having anything in common with the client will create a positive impression on them. So once you find something common, build a story around it and proceed accordingly during the meeting.
4. Be punctual
It is an unnamed rule, but one that makes a significant first impression. If you are late to a meeting, no matter how casual, it shows the client that you are not serious about the business relationship. On the other hand, being punctual and always reaching the meeting on time will reflect your seriousness and sense of commitment. Moreover, you don’t want your client to feel disrespected or as if you are trying to waste their time. So always try to be on time for meetings and calls.
5. Ask great questions
Regardless of the conversation topic, it is best to ask thoughtful and genuine questions about your client during the meeting. It conveys to the client that they are the center of the meeting. Therefore, ask them questions and be willing to listen to their answers in detail before talking about yourself or your company. The key is to establish that you are willing to meet the clients’ needs over yours.
6. Be transparent
People love it when the person in front of them is completely transparent. The reason is that transparency is very rare in the present age because people tend to hold back information in a way that benefits them. Therefore, your transparency can be the factor that sets you apart from other people and makes you seem more approachable and genuine. Apart from that, being transparent also allows you to determine your stance and methods to determine if what you’re doing is right or not.
7. Be ready for the next step
You need to have an action plan even before the first meeting. While this advice is true for both parties, it applies to you more if you are a company’s representative. Therefore, always go to a meeting with some call to action prepared. You can make a list of things you want to communicate with them throughout the meeting and ensure that they are on board with the meeting’s agenda. This ensures that the meeting remains on the right track and you are driving your meeting towards a specific end goal, which is a call to action. Once you achieve that goal, give them options about what next step you and your company can take. Doing so will help move the relationship forward and show the client that you are seriously making the business relationship work.
8. Bring them value
If you are the seller or representative of a company, then you have to bring your clients some value. That means that if you are holding a meeting with a potential client, talk to them regarding their problems, the pains they are facing, and possible solutions to those issues. Talk about long-term visions and prove that you can assist them in achieving their objectives. But keep in mind that you must listen as much as you talk. If you are only pitching and not taking the time to listen to them and consider their problems and goals, then it will reflect badly on your part.
Keep in mind that when you go into a meeting, you are representing your company and being your brand. In other words, you have to talk and act in your brand’s best interest and carry the conversation in a manner that benefits you both. If you follow these tips, you can easily make a good first impression on your client.