Picture this- you have a novel business idea and have spent months on perfecting your model, gathering resources to get started, making connections, and so on. However, once that first meeting is confirmed, you stop rejoicing and start panicking- what if the client never turns up? What if you’re not prepared enough for the meeting? What if the client doesn’t like your ideas? Or worse, what if they dislike you?
Most of those questions are on a young entrepreneur’s mind when they’re just starting out. But fret not, for there is a tonic for those pre-meeting nerves. Just keep in mind the following points and you should easily ace your next client meeting:
1. Selecting the venue
While the turn of a meeting does depend primarily on your charisma and sales pitch, making sure that the client feels comfortable plays a significantly important role in the negotiation. Unless the meeting is to be held at a client’s office, a quiet location like a seldom-visited café, where a discussion can be held in peace would be ideal. The location should be easily accessible, have a work-friendly ambience, and serve good tea and coffee within a budget. Wi-Fi access and power sockets to plug in your laptop would definitely be a bonus. While a good ambience sets a good precedent and encourages conversation, dissatisfaction the venue can cause your client’s mood to sour, which leads to an adverse impact on the proceedings of the meeting and your prospects as a whole.
Knowledge is power. The more you know, the fewer chinks there are in your armour, and you can take on all questions that prospective clients may throw at you. Background research, market research, client information are just some of the broad categories that you should acquaint yourself with, as this will help you understand the clients’ operative structure, wants and needs more clearly. It will also allow you to avoid getting into business with any client that might strike you as a bad choice. A well-researched entrepreneur usually deals with fewer nasty surprises.
3. Preparing for a client meeting
While research will give you all the details that are required, you need to know how to implement it as well. Making notes, whether digitally or on a notepad, is one efficient way of ensuring you have all the essential details on-hand for reference, before and during the meeting. Narrow down on the angle with which you will approach your client, and practice pitching the same. Always have all the necessary supplies for a meeting like notebooks or scratchpads, pens, and most importantly your business card.
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4. Dress for a meeting, not a meet-up
This point should be a no-brainer; the way you dress goes a long way in influencing your client’s decision-making because it displays your professionalism. Make sure you are well-dressed and presentable for meetings. Ideally, dress in formal attires when attending meetings with clients. In case you know for certain that the client values individualism more, you can incorporate some semi-formal elements. Remember; the first impression is the last impression. So, your first impression matters a LOT.
Punctuality always impresses. Stick to the mutually confirmed schedule. There is no harm in reaching a few minutes earlier and making yourself comfortable.
Arriving at the meeting venue after your clients tend to set a bad precedent.
Interaction stays with people. Opening a meeting with the nitty-gritty details of the project might seem highly professional to you, but it might come off as “too pushy” to your client, which is not a good sign. You definitely do not want your potential clients to think you are annoying. Always begin meetings with a warm, personal interaction while maintaining a healthy amount of respect for your client. Avoid breaking into negative narratives like complaining about the weather or the traffic when discussing such small-talk topics. Be professional, but know how to make them like you. Don’t be over-enthusiastic, however. That comes off as desperation. Exude just the right amount of confidence.
7. Listen before countering in a client meeting
Any pitch will require a lot of talking on your part, however, take the opportunity to listen to what your clients have to say- their concerns, comments, counters and queries. Control the impulse to correct your clients’ statements. Interruptions serve to only portray you in a negative light as an impatient, immature and irritable person. Always listen carefully and formulate your responses before actually responding. Clients tend to ask a lot of questions. Getting more predictable questions is usually a good sign- it shows, at the very least, they are interested. On the contrary, they might throw you a curveball you did not expect. Never over-promise or oversell yourself. Sometimes, recognizing your limitations is not a bad thing, and you should bring your client on the same page. Make promises in accordance with your capabilities and they will see you as a practical businessperson.
8. YSP- You’re the Selling Point!
In any negotiation, it is key to strike a balanced deal wherein both parties get what they want. However, never sell yourself short. It is your creation that they want, so you should be the one leading the conversation. The way you sell your concept is what turns their interest into an investment. Your presentation must be backed up with case studies where you or your product has been successful in market testing and solving consumer issues. The client needs to be reassured that you have a reliable and competent track record. This makes it easier for them to trust you while increasing your prospects of actually landing the deal.
9. Offer meaningful advice free of charge
Ensure that you can address some of their issues that are unrelated to the pitch by giving them free advice.
If they are going through a legal problem that they share with you in conversation, and you know how they could address it, let them know.
These freebies are essential for developing a rapport with the client. It will make you memorable to your clients, and if they manage to get their troubles solved, that is a bonus for both of you.
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10. Always remember to wrap up nicely and follow up
The end of a meeting is just as important as the start, so be cordial. Expect small talk and be ready to make a couple of social promises as well. If you have not yet given them your business card, this is the perfect opportunity. Do not forget to follow up with your clients after a respectful amount of time has elapsed. Even if you do not land the opportunity, do not be disheartened. You win some, you lose some. The most important thing is what you take away and how you improve.
MyHQ offers a meeting room facility that is perfect for alleviating at least some of your client meeting related anxiety. The venue for a client meeting is perhaps as important as the sales pitch itself. Choosing the ideal venue is not easy unless you know your city like the back of your palm, and even so, it may not provide all the services you may need. This is where myHQ saves the day. MyHQ provides meeting room services to corporate and start-ups at extremely economical rates, and provides all the amenities that one could want from the ideal meeting scenario. Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, myHQ also ensures that all locations are heavily sanitized, well organized and kept infection-free. MyHQ not only values your business endeavours but also your health and safety- dedicating themselves to providing the safest possible environment for you to discuss strategy in peace.
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Q. What are some safe venues to conduct client meetings in Delhi NCR during the COVID-19 outbreak?
A. There are a number of meeting rooms available at the many coworking spaces in Delhi. One of the major facilitators to it are myHQ workspaces. With myHQ, you can book and manage meeting rooms across Delhi that are hygienic, safe and equipped with all the conferential amenities that you may need.
Q. What are the most common mistakes made during client meetings?
A. Mistakes may vary from the kind of operations you conduct. However, the common ones may range from punctuality issues, lack of amenities at the venue to the most important, flaws in your product communications.
Q. Are there any courses available for tips on Client Meetings?
A. Well, a client meeting entails a number of situations, and one course to provide some help on all these is not possible. Instead, one should keep updated on the latest industry norms and terminologies, keep the communication transparent and the policies flexible if possible. Understanding and providing for the concerns of your client would make a huge difference in the overall results.