Meeting a potential client for the first time is a lot like going on a date. You both know enough about each other to agree to connect with a view to start building a relationship. You could be feeling optimistic about your chances, excitedly telling your colleagues and asking their opinions. But it still all comes down to that first encounter…
Thankfully, there’s plenty you can do to help things go smoothly. Read our seven tips for impressing potential clients below.
Table of contents
Get to know who you’re meeting
As with any business meeting, it’s important to come prepared. Demonstrating to a new client that you know their organization and industry shows that you’re serious about doing business. Memorize the names and positions of those you’ve made the first contact with, too.
You’ll want to strike a balance here, however. The client may feel uncomfortable if you reveal that you’ve been digging through their personal social media accounts!
Prepare to start the day right
Prepare for the day of the meeting like you would for an exam or job interview. Check you know where you’re going to avoid being late and fill up on a healthy breakfast before heading out.
You’ll need to make sure you’re well-rested if traveling overseas. A serviced apartment in central Singapore, for example, will offer a better environment to prepare than a hostel in the suburbs.
Dress for the occasion
In most scenarios, the client will see you before they hear you speak. You’ll need to be dressed appropriately to create a good first impression – and what is deemed ‘appropriate’ may depend on the client.
Dressing overly formal could put off a more relaxed or creative individual. But if meeting a high-flying corporate client, you could benefit from a trip to the tailors.
Have an agenda
It’s easy for a meeting without structure to feel like a waste of time. Time is money, after all, so plan the points you want to cover and the outcomes you hope to achieve. Try to avoid being too rigid though – you don’t want to appear scripted or inflexible if the client chooses to go off on a tangent.
Giving a brief overview of the agenda at the start of the meeting will help keep everyone on track.
Talk and act with confidence
It’s natural to feel nervous before an important meeting – but there are several ways you can still display confidence. Aim to project your voice and speak clearly, taking pauses where appropriate to let ideas sink in. Maintain good posture and use natural gestures to prevent your arms from feeling like spare parts.
The psychology professor Albert Mehrabian believed that 55% of an overall message comes from body language – and only 7% from words.
Give them something to take away
At the end of the meeting, you’ll want to leave the client with something to read in their own time or keep you in the front of their mind.
If you’ve prepared a proposal, for example, print an extra copy for them to takeaway. A business card meanwhile will let them know how to contact you if they need to.
Follow up appropriately
On a similar note, make plans to follow up with the client once an appropriate length of time has passed. You may want to thank them for their time and address any questions you couldn’t answer during the meeting. A copy of the key topics discussed will also help jog their memory and show that you paid attention. Suggest the next steps if you feel everything went well.
From here the power is in the client’s hands. But by following the seven tips discussed above, you’ll have done all you can to impress.
📖 Read more similar articles