10 things you should do to ensure successful meetings with clients

| June 8, 2018 | Articles

Choice of place, time, appearance and attitude are aspects that you should plan ahead in order to achieve your objectives at a meeting.

It is similar to planning a romantic date, only that here the objective is to conquer the client that is seated on the other side of the table. Below we share a series of recommendations to keep in mind when planning a successful encounter.

  • First contact: Be creative, different, stand out. The typical choice is to make the effort of contacting the client by phone instead of sending out an email that will most likely end up in the trash. Whichever means you choose have them remind you or at least ask you to send them your project/proposal.
  • Place: If it is the first meeting with formal clients, it is best to visit them at their office or to meet at yours. If the meeting is at your office, it is important to make the client feel comfortable, offer a good cup of coffee and take care of details such as parking and easy access to your facilities ahead of time. If the meeting is with a client that you already know, you can’t go wrong with breakfast at a place different from the usual or lunch at a restaurant where you even know the waiter’s name. If you are going to be sharing a presentation during your meeting, make sure that the tables are big enough and that you have a good Wi-Fi connection and are close to a power outlet. Some management specialists report that meetings outside of the office help create greater bonds of trust and generate a relaxed atmosphere.
  • Time: Consider the client’s level of concentration. Sometimes it is better to schedule the meeting in the morning and start off with a good breakfast, but if the client is often interrupted at his office, you can set the meeting for lunchtime when he takes a break.
  • Appearance: Your clothes and accessories, in addition to your manners, can have a considerable impact on the success or failure of your meeting. Be on time, be professional but cordial, and always look your best, particularly regarding your hair and clothes that should be clean and tidy, always smell good and a put a smile on your face. Clothes, color and details say a lot about the person carrying them and become valuable information when closing a deal. They should be considered as tools that allow you to feel comfortable and, at the same time, create an adequate look that conveys reliability and trust. Dressing correctly doesn’t have to be boring or exclusively mean having to wear dull colors, you should adapt to the place and formality of the meeting.
  • Know your client: Before starting any contact, even on a first approach, it is important to know who you want to work with; research their business activity, target sector and background. If you are interested, show it. Find out who is in charge of the business activities and who makes the decisions in order to best defend your project.
  • Make yourself known: Clearly define your business philosophy, value and services so you can establish what benefits they offer. You must be prepared to receive all types of questions about yourself without incurring contradictions or sending dubious messages. Clearly define what you offer that others don’t. Gone are the days when sellers displayed luxury and power, today people prefer doing business with human, warm and sympathetic individuals.
  • Conversation topics: Ideally, don’t start the conversation talking immediately about business; rather, bring the topic up during dessert. For this preliminary small talk it is essential that you keep up with the latest news and avoid the three controversial topics: politics, religion and football.
  • Strategy: It is important to write down the issues you want to discuss and the objectives you want to achieve so you can later analyze if the meeting was successful. To resume contact with the person in question, the best is for you to provide minutes of the meeting including a detailed account of the issues discussed, the commitments made by both parties and estimated reply or resolution dates.
  • Body language: Use it in order for the client to feel that you are connecting. Avoid crossing your arms since this can be interpreted as a sign of disapproval of what the other party is asking for and avoid remaining seated in a way that would lead someone to think that you lack enthusiasm. Use phrases that convey you’re on the same page, for instance: “I understand what you are saying”, “your situation is clear”, and “I am committed to helping you.”
  • Cell phones: If you are at a working meal, it is not advisable to leave your phone on or place it on top of the table because it makes one believe that you are expecting a call. However, if you are actually expecting an important call then it’s best to let the client know that you will be keeping your phone on. When you receive the call, simply excuse yourself without giving too much explanation. Also, do not keep your keys within sight since this sends out the message that you are in a hurry.
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