It can be daunting to meet with a client for the very first time, especially if you think they are on the verge of signing an exciting contract with you. That daunting feeling can get in the way of a successful meeting sometimes, making people more nervous and anxious than they need to be.
The following tips on how to have a successful business meeting should help you to turn that worry into excitement at the new business prospect in front of you,andhopefully, that will result in a positive outcome for everyone involved.
When you have a meeting arranged you will need to prepare for it. If you walk into the room and face your client or potential client with no preparation, it will be obvious, and make you look extremely unprofessional. So do your research before entering the meeting room; know who you are meeting and what they want from you. Have facts and figures to hand so that you can give evidence about why what you are proposing is a good idea. Give details of the suppliers you will use such as Custom Fittings Ltd so that your clients understand that you have a good supply chain set up and there won’t be an issue in getting the parts and equipment required to do the job.
It is not a problem if you want to make notes and have them with you at the meeting. It’s far better to have the details written down than not to have any information if you need to refer to it.
If you want to make a great first impression, you need to look and act professionally before, during, and after the meeting has taken place. It takes just seven seconds for someone to form an opinion of you. In a business meeting that opinion extends to your company as well, so you don’t have much time to show how serious, confident, trustworthy, and competent you are.
Wearing the right clothes will help with this; it is an instant cue for others. If you usually dress casually around the office then don’t go too far away from your true (and comfortable) self, but make sure that you look smart with clean clothes and shoes and brushed hair, for example.
As well as looking professional, you will need to act professionally. Make sure you shake your client’s hand, make good eye contact, ensure you are listening to what they are saying at all times and respond when needed. Doing this will show how interested you are in the project and will foster a sense of trust with the client.
Stay Away From Your Office
Try not to arrange a meeting in your own personal office if possible. Use a conference or meeting room instead, or even go somewhere entirely different such as a coffee shop or restaurant. Your office may seem like the best possible place to meet with a prospective client because it is where you are most comfortable, but that in itself can be the problem.Being too comfortable can mean you stop listening and start getting distracted by emails pinging through to your laptop or something that your colleagues are doing just outside your door.
You need to give your entire focus to the task at hand, and you need to make your client feel as though theyhave all of your attention. Taking them somewhere other than your office will show them that you are taking this meeting seriously and that you are as professional as possible. Plus, if you’re a rather untidy person at work, you won’t have to waste time rushing around and organizing everything before they get there!
Be On Time
No matter what, always start your meeting on time. If that means showing up an hour early to prepare the room and ensure that you are absolutely ready, then that is what you should do. Don’t rush in at the last minute when your clients are already seated and waiting for you. You should be there to greet them and make them feel welcome, even if you’re not in your office. You want to show that you are in control of this meeting right from the start, and arriving late certainly does not give that impression.
Arriving early to a meeting means that you have time to go through your notes and ensure that you are thoroughly prepared for what is ahead. You know what you want from the meeting,so that is the goal you need to work towards.
Have An Agenda
A meeting that goes on and on and has no defined end is not going to sit well with your clients. Everyone will have somewhere else to be and other things to do at some point, and your meeting monopolizing the entire day has a definite knock-on effect on anything else that may have been arranged.
This is why creating an agenda for the meeting is a good idea. Not only will it mean you won’t forget important points, but it also means that you can keep the meeting on track and on time. You won’t be in danger of meandering onto other topics when you should be focusing on what the meeting is about. It will impress your clients,and it will free up your day for other important meetings,or sales calls too.
Remember, however, to let your clients speak. The more information you get from your clients,the better you can prepare a solution to whatever problem they may have. Try to keep control of the meeting even when they are speaking and bring it back to the topic at hand whenever possible.
When the meeting is almost over make sure you ask if anyone has any questions. You want your clients to go away with a good impression of you and your company,and that means they need to understand everything that you discussed with them. Once they have left the meeting, it could be too late to give them the additional information they need, but by asking if they have any questions, they can mention anything they were unsure of, giving you the chance to answer.