We all meet with clients all the time – both formally and informally but are you sure that you are making an exceptional impression? Here are 10 ideas about how to really shine in a client meeting.
1. Set the agenda: Regardless of how informal your meeting you should always start out with some agenda setting. What do you want to get out of the meeting? What information are you planning to share? Setting the agenda early will make sure that you gain control of the meeting and that everyone’s expectations are set.
2. Set ‘cascading’ objectives: You must always have desired outcomes from the meeting and they should be set prior to entering the room. Make sure that you prepare for every eventuality so that you always come away with some agreement to continue the relationship. Here are some that have been appropriate to some resent Elation meetings
Get proposal signed
Gain verbal commitment on the proposal pending further amends
Gain permission to review project in 1 month
Gain consent to receive future content marketing.
3. Take notes: Always take paper and a pen and use them. Whether you are the prospect or the seller. These notes will be really important for your future relationships with the people attending but it also communicates that you take their opinion seriously.
4. Mirroring: It’s an oldie but a goodie. Replicate both your prospects body language and verbals – it will make them feel at ease and you will get far more information from them.
5. Be consultative: Always ask questions – lots of questions – and make them pertinent. ‘Tell me a little bit about how your business operates?’ will get you valuable information it will also allow you to demonstrate later that you really understand their business.
6. Sell late: Selling is NOT just about the features of your product or service. You have no way of predicting what matters to your client without full knowledge of their business. When you know everything that they are willing to share then and only then you can start talking to them about the benefits your company will bring them.
7. Check for objections: Asking key questions like ‘How does this sound to you?’ and ‘Are you looking to go ahead with this?’ are essential to your success. You must understand where your client stands and what more they need from you in order to make their decision to buy. Don’t be frightened of objections, handled right they are your biggest chance to sell (keep any eye on future blogs for some objection handling techniques).
8. Always gain follow up commitment: Whatever the outcome of your meeting don’t let it be the last communication with your client. Coming away with a signed proposal is always the main aim and it’s a massive triumph when it happens but it doesn’t always and don’t close the door there. Offer to call them in a month, suggest you sign them up for your email newsletter or let them know you will invite them to join your LinkedIn network. In short, let them know that continuing the business relationship is important to you.
9. Use ‘Leave Behinds’: Whatever your business some visual merchandising or promotional materials will be invaluable in your sales technique. In an ideal world you will have a number of relevant tailored and well designed pieces of literature that you can leave with a client. These might include: a buying guide, a FAQ card, a products catalogue or a ‘What happens next’ document. In the absence of professionally designed and printed documents you can still create (or have created) some great company literature using simple word processing software. Be creative and leave them with something to help inform their buying decision.
10. Say Thank You: Does this seem obvious? Well it shouldn’t! Closing a meeting by thanking the client for their time and letting them know that you enjoyed the meeting is a courtesy that many of us often forget. Make a lasting impression by leaving them with a smile.
Running a really successful sales meeting is a key part of a really strong sales process. Practice getting this right and you really will grow your client base. And remember, it takes 66 days to form a habit!