The subject of this post might sound obvious so why on earth did I pick this topic and what am I on about?!
Well, I thought I would share with you my recent experiences in relation to the differences in personalities and ways of workings from new clients that I have come across and how to prepare for the first meeting.
As expressed on my website, experience has taught me that every client is different in terms of their requirements, their industries, their expectations, their experiences and of course, their budgets. With these in mind, I feel that it is essential that the small business owner can adapt to these inconsistencies, especially if service is core to their offering.
What do I do to give myself the best possible chance of working with this prospective business?
Well, I feel preparation and research play a vital role in preparing for each meeting. Really invest time to get to know the person or persons you are about to meet. Make sure you know their role within their business, their job title, their background and, wherever possible, try and make sure that you know as much as possible about their business. To do this, look at any biography they might have on their website. In addition, do some online research into what they might say on Twitter or Facebook or……..what is said about them. Maybe you could add a Google alert based on any postings, press releases or even trends within their market. Or even, try and get hold of any current marketing material.
Secondly, to demonstrate your credibility, do you have any examples of working with similar organisations or even examples of working within similar markets. Presenting case studies can really help your cause.
Thirdly, not every prospective client will come into a meeting wanting to simply give you their business so it is up to you to convince the prospect that you are a worthy appointee and the right person to deal with. Try to find common ground with them – mirror what they drink if need be – and try and develop a conversation about personal issues. After all, your personality and character are huge influences in the decision process.
Fourthly, try and ascertain exactly what they expect from the relationship – timescales & deliverables. I always take very specific notes so that I can email over a contact report bullet pointing what I got from the meeting. This acts as a point of reference if they decide to appoint you.
Finally, if the meeting moves towards costs, this is actually a good sign. BUT, be very careful not to buy business. Most organisations will respect a business that offers a fair price and will not respect one trying to buy their business. After all, if you don’t value what you do, no one will.
With competition in pretty much every industry and sector increasing, potential clients hold most of the power and are more than likely to be speaking to a number of people offering what you do. The fact that you are sitting there means that you are in with a shout so do your research, be yourself and be confident.