Congratulations! After all the marketing, pitching, and inquiries, you’ve finally secured your first client meeting. You’re one step closer to sealing the deal and generating sales. Although you’re excited, you can’t help but feel a bit anxious about your upcoming appointment. Whether in person or via video conference, the pressure to make a good impression and sell them the benefits and quality of your services can be overwhelming. All it takes is one misstep or oversight to cause things to go left.
What are you going to do? How can you get through your first client meeting without making a fool of yourself? First, take a few deep breaths. Then read the advice below to learn more about preparing for a successful client meeting.
Know Your Client
It’s not uncommon for novice entrepreneurs to focus on pitching their products and services without doing their research on prospective clients. You can have a great brand with a proven track record, but if you aren’t familiar with the client’s needs, it’s challenging to present your offerings in a beneficial manner. Here are a few factors to consider as you conduct your research:
What type of business do they run (if applicable)?
If your client is a consumer, how would you categorize their lifestyle, values, morals, interests, and needs?
What are the company values?
How long has the company been established?
What are the client’s preferences, interests, and goals?
How can your products or services accommodate their needs?
Prepare Your Pitch/Business Materials
You should never show up to a client meeting empty-handed. You want to provide the client with tangible information they can use to make an informed decision about a potential working relationship. Your data should be accurate, detailed, organized, and easy to access. It should also include forms, requested documents, and essential contact information.
You can create a PowerPoint presentation with key talking points, charts, statistics, and other relevant information for the client. This presentation can be printed and handed to the client at an in-person meeting or sent digitally via email. Before making your content accessible to your clients, have someone proofread everything for accuracy.
Practice Makes Perfect
Practicing your presentation is advised, no matter how great you are at public speaking. The last thing you want to do is get to your client meeting and forget what you wanted to say. Review the materials you’ve gathered for the client, use index cards to write down key points, and practice in front of a mock audience to get feedback.
Venue Selection/Background Prep
The meeting location can have an impact on the success of your client meeting. The idea is to make a good impression and professionally present yourself and your brand. Whether you’re hosting a physical or virtual meeting, prepare in advance. For instance, if you’ve opted for a local coffee shop or restaurant, call ahead to reserve seats and ensure they have food options that accommodate your client.
If you’re hosting a video conference, ensure that you have a quiet and designated space for your meeting. Remove any clutter or distractions from the camera’s view. You can also create a professional environment by adding office furniture and decor or creating a background using the business video conference software.
Dress The Part
What you wear can also make an impression on your clients. Your attire represents your personality, character, and brand. Showing up to a meeting with everyday clothing can signal that you’re not focused on professionalism. Therefore, it’s best to keep things a business or business casual at best.
Ladies might wear a business suit, dress, or slacks and a top (button-up, blouse, cardigan, etc.) with a pair of pumps or neutral flats. You can add some characters with business-friendly colors and patterns. If you wear jewelry, keep it to a minimum, opting for something like diamond studs or small hoop earrings for women.
Gentlemen could wear a suit, slacks, and a top, with a pair of dress shoes or loafers. Again, keep colors and patterns neutral and opt for minimal jewelry like a watch, statement ring, or small chain necklace.
The last thing to consider before your first client meeting is your confidence. Although pitching your services and brand is intimidating, if you let that lower your self-esteem, it will manifest in your presentation. Recognize that you have a great brand and idea, assure yourself you have what it takes to accommodate your client’s needs, and be confident that you can close the deal.
Practicing your pitch, reciting affirmations, and even relaxing to calm your nerves before the meeting can help increase your confidence.
Someone came across you or your business and thought enough to request a meeting to learn more. That’s an accomplishment that you shouldn’t take lightly. While feeling intimidated is natural, you must overcome the anxiety and rise to the occasion. Use the advice above to help you prepare to host and successfully complete your first client meeting.
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