Have you ever left a business meeting feeling that it was a waste of time? Meeting with a client for the first time can be daunting, but like anything in our careers, it can be equally exciting. What exactly makes for a successful and rewarding meeting? Here are a few helpful tips for knocking your next meeting out of the park.
Do Your Homework
This should be obvious, but you’d be shocked by how many professionals skimp on doing the necessary research on their client. Know what you’re getting into ahead of time. Educate yourself on your client so you can ask intelligent questions. Learn their product and understand their mission statement. A new client meeting is a great time to get clarification, but you should make an impression with what you already know.
Look And Act The Part
First impressions count. Maintaining a professional appearance and demeanor lets people know that you can perform your job effectively. Act professionally and engaging, by shaking the client’s hand, making eye contact, and listening to them intently. This allows the client to assess your openness and trustworthiness, while making them feel more comfortable.
Have An Agenda
Every client meeting must have a clear objective of what both you and the client want to achieve from the meeting. Time is money and the client will appreciate the efficiency with which you handle this meeting. Draft an agenda with key points, keeping both you and your client on the right track. The more information you can get the better, but maintain control of what is important and what is not.
State The Desired Outcome
It is vital to know exactly what outcome you want from the meeting. State the desired outcome in the meeting invitation and then re-state it as you begin the meeting. By stating the outcome, both you and the client can work together to achieve it making for a successful meeting.
Close With Confidence
And finally, seal the deal! Sounds pretty obvious, yet many professionals fail to do this important step, instead closing weakly without making a clear request for the action they’re looking for. Once the meeting is coming to an end, go over any final subjects and any questions or doubts that the client may have. You will assure the client you have their best interest at heart and leave them with the feeling that their business is in the right hands.