People like doing business with people that … they like. It may seem too simple or – oppositely – too irrational but the truth is that businessmen are more eager to cooperate with people who won their affection. How to win favors of your top contractor? By right interactions. The way you communicate betokens about your organization’s culture and people who create it. Every interaction needs to stay in line with accepted policy.
Direct meeting with your client is the best opportunity to win his trust and compel affection. Concurrently, it is great challenge due to live interaction and stress factor involved. Following some simple rules you can minimize the element of uncertainty and steadily go for your client’s favors!
STEP 1: BEHAVIOUR, PREPARATIONS, PRESENTATION.
Below you can find a few precious and easy tips how to build and reinforce fundaments of strong relation with your client during business meetings.
1. Business savoir vivre
Good manners are base for good business relation. Do not forget about your manner and keep calm even when your interlocutor persistently tests your patience. Keeping professional attitude and courtesy during troublesome discussion is very desirable feature in businessmen circles. It is also information that you can keep your cool in stressful situations and they can always rely on your professionalism.
Sales consultants suffer from operative stereotype of cheating sales person who – in best case – doesn’t tell you the whole truth. Make honesty your domain! Put your cards on the table in front of your client and do not cheat on them. If you know that you are not able to meet their expectations try to modify them instead of accepting the job. Customers, especially from outside the game, usually have no idea about your business character. It often happens that their expectations need to be verified according to various criteria (also financial ones). Do not be afraid to talk about your limits or inaccessible solutions (despite your flexibility). Facing reality can be painful for your client but it is essential at this early stage. Otherwise (by agreeing with everything your customer wish) you put trust, image and resources at risk – both your and your client’s.
So be honest – it builds up the trust.
Make your client feel at home – than you will be provided with most solid information about his needs. And good interview is a starting point for evaluating the problem and creating a right solution. Which is a goal for both of you. Do your best to make your customer understand that you do share his goal (finding a solution). The quality of information needed to achieve this goal depends on the nature of your relation and meeting atmosphere. This is why trust and friendly attitude are that important.
2. Have you done your homework?
Client expects from you that material that you prepare will be adequate to their needs and requirements. To that end it is essential to get familiar with nature of their business, their strategy, plans and latest activities. Let alone perfect insight in your company’s operation and your current offer. Seller’s Incompetence and lack of substantive background is one of the most demotivating factor to cooperation. Why? Solid preparation just doesn’t require a lot of effort from a person – it is a matter or good research and revise. Lack of mentioned knowledge decreases your credibility and proves your disrespect.
Proper preparation requisites smooth and effective interview. Sides do not waste their time to pass information available online or other sources. You can totally focus on a problem. However, if available information seem to be outdated or confusing, do not hesitate to ask some questions to clarify them.
3. Show me what you got – presentation time.
First of all, you need to know that presentation doesn’t mean presenting your whole knowledge about an offer. A trick is to pass optimal amount of information in the time given. You probably wonder: how to determine what amount is optimal for my client? Exhaustive interview is the key to find it out.
Simple conclusion: do not give a presentation to your client on your first meeting. Without getting some information upfront you are not able to prepare a customized offer. You miss the knowledge about consumer’s needs, expectations and limits so you can only present to them general solution. It is a waste of time – for you and for them. After receiving detailed guidelines from your client, put some time into analyzing and adapting them into a business solution. Try to figure out how to expose functions meeting your client’s specific needs. Build you presentation about these elements.
Think out what materials you want to use and how. Opt for quality, not quantity and consult transparency of your presentation. Apply more graphical references, limit textual ones – your talk will suffice as a comment. Get ready for minute questions and have some detailed materials for more inquiring clients.
Do not use expressions that you don’t understand or that don’t sound natural in your statement. Be natural – that will guarantee you efficacy in persuasion.
Provide elements to keep your client’s attention – comparisons, examples, short movies or opinions about the experience. If it is possible – tool yourself up with some prototypes and samples. The more customer experiences your product (service, solution) the better they will memorize it.
STEP 2: TIME MANAGEMENT, PRESSURE & PRESENTABLE LOOK
4. TIME IS MONEY
Respect your clients’ (and your!) time. Show up on time on arranged meeting and in case of inevitable delay – let a person know early enough. Punctuality bespeaks your time management skills – an essential ability in business.
Stick to your plan during the presentation – do not get off the track (unless you client insists on digression). If you have to deal with a real chatterbox – skilfully turn the talk back on track by asking closed questions and making conclusions. If it turns out you end up with some spare time – feel free to tackle your interlocutor about the previous affairs. Showing some interest can make you win affection, taking care of smoothness of the meeting proves your professionalism.
Be specific and brief, make sure there is enough time for disscussion and questions. Do not schedule your next appointment in a short distance – that will provide you with some comfort. Your conversationalist will be also satisfied that you fully devote your time and attention to his problem – instead of glancing at you watch all the time.
Professional salesperson should become customer advisor, so intuition and tact are crucial here. While interviewing and presenting your solution you need to prove your sensitivity and ability to listen. Remember that your client’s goal is your goal – make sure than that he has a chance to communicate it properly. It also means that you take care of smooth communication about current issues and changes – so that you can adjust your project at once.
Agressive ride towards your client is absolutely unacceptable. Do not force them to make a decision immediately. Make sure customer feels you are at their dispisal and your goal is to help them solve their problem. It is essential to make you client aware of the importance of full and honest communication of their needs and changes.
It can turn out that some assistance is comunicating these information is also needed. In case of shy and indecisive consumers ask a lot of open questions and progressively build the atmosphere of loose understanding. Listen carefully and refer to client’s previous statements or your own knowledge about them. If your conversonationalist is talktive and keep on divagating you should discipline them skilfully by asking short, closed questions and making conclusions. Your support during business meeting makes your client satisfied at the end – points for you!
6. SENSE OF AESTHETIC
Fresh appearance and neat clothes meaningfully conrtibute to creating professional image. Client will form their opinion about you and your company before you wil have a chance to speak – basing on visual stimuli only. Take care of your organisation and make it appeal – starting from look and location of its legal address, through information material and communication channels til your employees’ appearance.
Prepared and preoperly selected meeting spot increases comfort of disscussion for you and your client. Try to mold the size of the room to amount of people you expect. Make sure that you have easy access to all needed material and devices (if you haven’t used them before – make a trial before).
If your offices has limited capasity to host guests or you work at home – suggest a meetinf in the city. If you opt for a cafe or restaurant try to avoid peak hours or book a table. Consider probable duration of the meetinf and prices in the menu.
Library or university building can do as alternative – it’s important that you can freely talk in a place and exchange your ideas. A cup of good coffee is always a plus.
Take it easy! Be relaxed and prepared – nothing can go wrong then!
Below you can also check out our Slideshare presentations on
How to Win Client’s Affection at the Meeting?