You’ve made call after call, you’ve left many voice messages, written unanswered emails, all to no avail. Then, one day, you get a response and have now set up an appointment with this elusive prospect. Now what?
First of all, don’t think of winging it and not doing any preparation. That’s really a dumb thought. Google the company, find the website and look up as many personnel on LinkedIn as you can find. Preparation is the key when meeting a new client.
What’s better than meeting with your key contact and she brings in her boss? Here’s what’s better; you’ve already looked him up on LinkedIn and found out he’s connected to three of your friends! You have immediate common ground and he’s impressed you’ve done your homework.
Next, you’ve scoured Google news and their website and you know they are about to launch a new product, add an addition to their building or about to go through an IPO. As conversation ensues you sound brilliant because you know what they are talking about. Again, they are impressed.
At this point, do you think they are more likely to listen to what you have to say? This is so much better than sitting down in their conference room and saying “tell me about your business”!
Preparation is too often underrated. If your business is one that requires making several customer calls a day, you can fall into the “I’m too busy to prepare for each call” trap. Don’t go there. Even a little preparation is better than none. A quick Google/LinkedIn search will pay dividends.
Now that you’ve gathered some information in advance of your meeting, put it in a format that you can draw upon it quickly. A little “cheat sheet” will keep your mind from trying to remember a key point while you miss an important comment uttered by your customer.
You have invested a lot of time in this first meeting. Preparing and having a plan to follow separates you from the schmucks who arrive with no plan, talk too much, ask dumb questions and don’t listen. Bottom line; don’t be a schmuck.