Research says that you need about 8 meetings or follow-ups before a lead is closed; but the first meeting plays a key role in determining if you will get a chance to meet the prospect again. Even the most seasoned salespeople know there is no clear rulebook for a perfect first sales meeting. That said, we have put together a bunch of tips that you could use to make the most of your first client meeting.
Research, research, research
Before you meet with a prospect, do your homework and gather whatever knowledge you can about them. Understand the challenges faced by the industry that your prospect is a part of. Then move on to study your prospect company in detail. Spend time on their website, social media pages, read about them online and see how your services can truly add value to them.
References and testimonials
Providing relevant testimonials and references will go a long way in building trust. When I say relevant testimonials, I’m referring to testimonials from your clients who are from the same industry vertical as your prospect, or have opted for the same product or service that your prospect is considering investing in. It is best if the testimonial is objective, and talks about how you added value to your clients in very quantitative terms.
Avoid technical slang when talking to your prospects. They are more likely to trust you when they understand what you are saying.
Always dress professionally, arrive before the time of the meeting. If you arrive a bit too early, use any extra time you may have to learn more about your prospect’s business and style of working by observing their office.
When you talk
During the course of your interaction with the prospect, make it apparent that you have done your homework. You have invested your time and effort in learning more about your prospect, their business vertical and challenges...help them realize this--subtly. It sends the message that you truly care about adding value to them.
It doesn't have to be boring
Once you find that you have reached a certain comfort level with your prospect, talk to them about something other than business. It could be anything-- family, hobby, sports, charity, travel, etc. Why? It helps build trust, and then of course, knowing that you both play golf at the same club, or volunteer with the same organization will make it easier to develop a business relationship.
During your first meeting with a prospect, your goal should be to understand them, their business and their challenges. This involves asking your prospects a lot of questions and listening for answers. Even if you know exactly what challenges your prospect is facing and how you can help resolve them, hearing out your prospects completely will convince them that you truly “get it”.
Never bad mouth a competitor or another client
You are not the only one who has done their research. Your prospect would have also consulted your competitors and may even point out that they are cheaper, or offer products or services that fit them better. At that point if you feel like bad-mouthing your competitor, bite your tongue. Instead state the facts--how are you different?
Your sales presentation deck
Your sales presentation is your best ally during the first client meeting. An ideal sales deck is short, but provides all the key information about the presenter’s company and their product or service. Your sales deck should have about eight to ten slides with the first being a cover slide with your logo and company name, the second giving a brief introduction of your company, and the third should include key client names and logos. The fourth slide can list your services or products, with a slide or two totally dedicated to your key offerings. Finally, include three short testimonials from your happy clients. Your closing slide can contain a message thanking your prospect for their time, followed by your contact details including your web address, e-mail, phone number, office address and links to all your social media pages.
Close your meeting with a clear discussion of the next step that should follow. If possible, try to schedule a follow-up meeting immediately. Once you are out of the prospect’s office, send them an email that summarizes your discussion and lists the action items for the next steps.
If they don’t close immediately, you can add them to a lead nurturing drip and continue to stay connected until the time they are ready to make a purchase decision.
The first client meeting is always a little tricky, as that is your first and probably only chance to shine and impress your prospect with what you have to offer. Make sure you go into it armed with enough information about your prospect, their business vertical, challenges and of course, a positive outlook.
To learn more, visit Mindmatrix.