Meeting with clients can seem intimidating at first, especially if this is the first time you are meeting face to face. Maintaining client relationships and making a good impression is key to gaining a new business and keeping a current client happy. Remember these points and you will make it through any meeting!
“Failing to prepare, is preparing to fail” – Benjamin Franklin
Research – It is important to do your due diligence prior to the meeting. Research the business in depth! Review the business website and read about who they are and what they offer. Look for recent events or promotions to learn what is currently happening. The more you know, the easier it will be to speak to them about their business.
Create an agenda – Agendas keep meetings focused and on track. It is imperative to manage the expectations of the client. With an agenda, they will know what to expect and what will be discussed. Email a brief bulleted agenda to all attendees prior to the meeting.
2. BE PROFESSIONAL
“You will never get a second chance to make a first impression” – Will Rogers
Professional Attire – Your first impression starts with your appearance. Even if your workplace is casual, dress extra nice for your meeting. This means making sure your clothes are clean and wrinkle free. You will be respected and taken more seriously if you wear clothes that are not distracting or inappropriate.
No Cell Phones – Always always always leave your cell phone in the other room or turn it off completely! There is nothing ruder than having your phone as a distraction or an interruption in the meeting.
Arrive on time – If you arrive on time, you are late. Arriving too early could inconvenience the client so be sure to arrive 10 minutes prior to your meeting. You don’t want to look flustered. This will give you enough time to get settled and review your notes.
Bring Business Cards – You should carry a stack of business cards with you everywhere you go and especially to meetings! You never know what the client will remember, so make sure they have a card to at least remember your name.
3. BE ENGAGED
“The weakest link is stronger than the strongest memory” – Unknown
Take Notes – It is important to speak up, but also to listen intently to the client and take good notes. The meeting may be quick, but you don’t want to forget what was said. You should write your notes on the agenda under each section. This will be easy and require less writing. Make sure that you look up from your note taking and make eye contact while they are speaking.
Positive Attitude – Everyone can tell if you are in a bad mood, so be positive and polite. Smile and shake hands with everyone in the room. Clients want to work with people who are nice and respectful.
Disruptions – Do not interrupt anyone while they are speaking. You may have your own opinions, but now is not the time to argue. Listen to what they say. Refer back to the agenda if the meeting starts to veer off track.
4. FOLLOW UP
“Never underestimate the power of a Thank You” -Unknown
Follow up – No matter how the meeting goes or what the outcome is follow-ups are crucial. Thank them for the opportunity and send a short recap of the meeting. You should ALWAYS send a thank you note to all the attendees at the meeting. They gave you their time, which is the most valuable gift anyone can give.
It’s ok to be nervous! Remember to take a deep breath and follow these guidelines. You will do great!