It can be not only exciting but also incredibly nerve-wracking when meeting with a potential client for the first time. Here are some handy tips to make sure that you completely kick ass.
Be on time – whether it’s at your office or theirs or a public location – arrive with time to spare and have everything cleared away before they arrive. It says a lot about your character. Being late or in a state of disarray is a big no-no.
Everything from clothes to make-up to popping a mint in before you meet them will help to convey an air of confidence and that you are the right person for the job. So be sure to wear smart, pressed clothes and spend some time on your hair and makeup to achieve a professional, well-presented look that will impress your potential client even before you’ve said one word.
You will be judged in the first few moments on your appearance, professionalism and trustworthiness – so introduce yourself with a firm handshake and an air of confidence and calm.
Put your phone out of sight – they will appreciate that they have your full attention and won’t be distracted by rings, dings, buzzes and notifications. You may even want to switch it off before putting it away.
Keep your introduction and the first few minutes of the conversation light-hearted, without complaining about the traffic or how bad the weather is. Portray positivity during these crucial few moments – no-one likes a whinger.
Preparation is key so research them and their business thoroughly in advance of the meeting and incorporate something you’ve learned about them into the conversation. This will impress the potential client and show that you are serious about wanting to work with them.
Have an agenda so that the meeting stays on track and on point. This will also serve as a useful reminder of things to discuss, as it’s easy to forget crucial information during your first meeting due to possible nerves.
Establish and maintain eye contact throughout the meeting. There may be other things going on around you but it’s important to make them feel like they are the centre of your world throughout the meeting.
Take notes – not only will this help you to focus, but it also shows your intent to take them seriously. Plus, it’s easy to forget something crucial if you don’t write it down then and there. It doesn’t’ look good if you have to ask them a few days later to clarify an important point.
Don’t interrupt – listen, listen, listen. Listening is one of the hardest skills to master and when a client can see that you are truly listening, it gives them faith and confidence. Nod and smile when they are explaining something to you to show that you are listening and taking it all in. And try not to interrupt them or talk over them.
Use phrases and words used by them to ask follow-up questions – this helps to establish a connection and can have a very calming effect.
Manage their expectations and show a willingness to work with them. Don’t oversell as this may lead to stress or disappointment further down the line.
Don’t let the meeting drag on so when you feel like you are approaching a natural conclusion to the meeting, ask if they have any final queries, then explain next steps and your plan of action confidently and concisely.
Last but definitely not least, have belief in yourself and make sure this comes across in a way that establishes trust and your ability to get the job done properly and professionally. Don’t doubt yourself or let your nerves show. Instead, act as if you have already landed the job and that this is merely a meeting to go through the main points of working together.
We hope you find these tools helpful and wish you many successful first meetings that lead to many new clients.