As human beings, most of the crucial decisions we make are based on first impressions. Hence, as an entrepreneur or a service provider, you can’t deny the importance of conferences and meetings. They are vital to sustain and establish business relationships. Moreover, they allow you to show your customers and clients what you can do for them, impressing and wowing them with your skills. After all, a lot is riding on that first client meeting. It is your one chance to leave an ever-lasting impression on your client and sell yourself or your business in a way that exudes professionalism. That being said, during your first client meeting, there will be a lot of stress and pressure on you not to mess things up.
So, if you’re a business owner or entrepreneur who has an upcoming meeting with a client and wants to leave a good first impression, then you have come to the right place. With that in mind, let us take a look at some surefire ways you can impress your client in the first meeting, whether you want to pitch a business idea to an investor or you want to sell a product or service to a customer. So, without further ado, some of these ways are listed below.
Rent a meeting room
Inviting a client inside your house for that first meeting, especially if you’re a solo entrepreneur, will undoubtedly appear unprofessional, even if you are running your start-up from home. In fact, Without a designated office area, your client might feel like they are invading your private space. It will get even worse if the meeting room feels too homey. For example, there could be pet hair on the furniture, kids running around the house, or breakfast dishes on the kitchen table.
Keeping that in mind, an easy way to avoid the causal meeting environment of your home, especially if you don’t own office space, is to rent a professional meeting room. It will offer you flexibility as you will only be inside the meeting room for the duration you need it. Moreover, you can rent a meeting room depending on the number of clients you’ll be meeting and your location. For instance, if you’re meeting a client in Singapore, you can simply go online to find and rent meeting rooms in Singapore. In the end, the meeting environment plays a crucial role when you’re looking to win that contract!
Always prepare in advance
It might sound pretty obvious. However, being well-prepared is vital to the success of your first initial meeting with a client. For instance, research a bit about your client’s business, dress appropriately by wearing formal, professional clothing, and know where you’re going so you don’t arrive late.
Furthermore, don’t forget to prepare your materials and document beforehand, so you remain stress-free and relaxed and don’t come across as unprepared or flustered. Meaning, preloading your tablet device or laptop with your portfolio or other documents vital to your meeting. Moreover, don’t forget to bring a notepad and a working pen to jot down essential discussion points.
Lastly, practice your pitch in advance. Doing so will allow you to be more confident putting your message across without missing any vital points. Also, you will have a wide variety of advice and suggestion ready to go in reply to the client’s queries or concerns.
Don’t forget about small talk
Before actually sitting down and getting to the serious stuff, it would be wise to incorporate a little small talk into your meetings. After all, you wouldn’t want to appear too pushy by pitch your business idea to a potential investor the minute they sit down. Instead, break the ice by talking about random things such as the traffic, weather, sports events, or anything else the potential clients likes. However, stick to safe topics and always maintain a neutral and diplomatic stance.
While discussing the traffic or weather, don’t whine about it as you might come across as irritating. In the end, always remember that business is all about people handling. People will give their business to people they find interesting, trustworthy and qualified, not crybabies who do not know how to make lemonade out of lemons. With that in mind, small talk can be a secret weapon in your arsenal, granted you utilize it correctly!
Remain cool and calm
While it is nice to be likable, it is always better to be confident instead of over-keen. Something like this might sound strange but trust us. You need to treat your first meeting with a potential client like a first date — coming off as desperate will quickly backfire! You have to sound like you aren’t desperate for the client’s contract. Always remain cool and confident in your abilities. You have to show them that your services are in demand and working together will be mutually beneficial. Such a thing will entice them and make them want your services even more. However, there is a slight risk that you might end up overdoing things as there is a fine line between arrogance and confidence. So, remind yourself how much you will love it when the potential client puts pen to paper, but also that it isn’t too big of a deal if you cannot get the contract.
Offer some friendly suggestions and advice
We live in a dog-eat-dog world where everybody is trying to outplay each other, and you can’t trust anybody. However, you delight and surprise your potential clients if you give some free suggestions and advice on how to improve their business, with no expectation in return. After all, going that extra mile will impress them. Doing so will allow you to quickly build trust and rapport. Not to mention, you’ll show that you’ve done your research and have expertise in the areas your potential client wants. Meaning, you’ll end up building a positive and stable working relationship with your client.
Let your client do the talking
When you’re done with the small talk, and it’s time to get to the serious stuff, let your potential clients share a bit about their business, expectations, and concerns. Let them talk about their business as much as they want; after all, it’s their baby, and they would like to show it off to you with pride. During that time, you need to stay attentive, show interest, and add useful comments at appropriate times. Your time to talk will come, but till then, sit back, remain comfortable, and listen! After all, listening is an essential part of effective communication since it allows you to get an in-depth understanding of your client’s wants and preferences.
We all have heard the famous proverb ‘first impression is the last impression’ many times in our lives. Whether it is true or false is not a debate you need to get into. Instead, you need to bear in mind without a shadow of a doubt that the things you do and don’t do in your first meeting will leave an ever-lasting impression on your client. So, consider the ways mentioned above to impress your clients and win that all-important contract you’re after!