In today’s digital world, a large amount of business, transactions and communication is carried out conveniently over the telephone and Internet. However, a number of customers or clients still do want to meet you in person to ensure if you are trustworthy or not. So how do you go about this face-to-face meeting with your potential customer for the first time?
Before moving further into the details, there’s an extremely crucial thing to keep in mind. It is very important to make the most you can of your first face-to-face meeting with your customer. This is because this first impression has a tremendous impact on the intensity of your relationships with those customers which in turn influence the success of your business with them.
Remember that the first impression is generally made within merely 3 to 5 seconds. And those few seconds can make or break the success you are hoping for your meeting to lead to. If you screw up in those couple of seconds, chances are that the entire relationship you are about to begin may never reach its peak. This is why it is imperative to be able to enhance how others perceive you and to be able to present yourself as trustworthy, confident and likable in the very first meeting. And Setster will help you exactly do that by following a few simple do’s and don’ts.
Your first customer meeting
Preparation: You have to prepare for almost anything and everything you do. The same goes for your first meeting with your customer. It’s best not to be overconfident here which can sometimes lead to unanticipated errors. Thus, it’s always best to do your homework before any meeting.
Confidence: While being overconfident can turn out to be a hindrance, you need to be confident throughout the entire process. Trust in yourself and your capabilities, only then can you attempt to build that same trust for you in the mind of your customer.
Due diligence: Keep in mind 2 types of due diligence to succeed. The first relates to studying the customer or client, meaning finding out about the customer, type of business, competencies and so on. The second involves carrying out research pertinent to the questions and requirements of the customer.
Professional appearance: It’s important to both look and act professionally. A professional appearance and behavior helps to portray the image of being able to carry out your promise completely and successfully. You can sometimes opt for a more casual appearance, but you still have to be well groomed and act in an engaging manner.
No office: You might get coaxed into using your office as the venue for your first meeting but it is a no-no. You will easily encounter distractions and interruptions in your office such as your phone ringing or people coming which might frustrate the customer. It is better to opt for a conference room where you can focus on your customer completely, showing your level of civility and professionalism.
Punctuality: Punctuality is a part of professionalism. You should be able to start the meeting on time if you want to show the customers you are serious about the meeting and that you value their time.
No blabbering: Every relationship is built on an interactive two-way manner. If you are the only one talking in the entire meeting, chances are that the customer may get annoyed as well as you may end up with extremely limited information by the time the meeting ends. People tend to listen to merely 3 sentences before becoming overloaded with information. So remember to take pauses and let the customer talk too.
Business and product knowledge: It is a must to have adequate knowledge about your business and products so that the customer does not consider you to be an amateur in the field. To make sure that the customers trust you, you should first do sufficient research before going for the meeting.
Expectation management: Your customer will always have some expectations and it is vital that you manage them. You can do this via preparation and study of the probable outcomes of both the anticipated and unanticipated issues. Make sure to go through all the key areas as well as spot the risky ones.
On agenda: During a meeting you need to be on track and focus on the most important things for which you are having the meeting in the first place. This is why make sure you draft a list of agendas before the meeting, which you can use during the meeting to keep the customer and yourself on track and prevent the unnecessary wastage of time that can happen if you let the meeting wander.
End: As the meeting comes to an end, remember going over the remaining key issues. Also ask the customers if they want to ask any questions which shows that you really want to foster a long-lasting relationship with them. Thank them as well for their time and patience and assure them about the job being done. Lastly, accompany them to the reception area.
Follow up: Just as important as the preparation and the meeting itself are, the follow up is just as important. You should keep a note of all the issues that crop up in the meeting and send a copy to the customer. Also send a letter or email to the customer after the meeting including the issues discussed in the meeting and other updates of progresses. Make it a good experience for the customer throughout the journey.
Image by: See-ming Lee