When you are working around creating potential prospects using cold calling, or email marketing, you will find that the prospects who are interested in knowing more will prefer to meet in person. But how do you ensure you make a fantastic first impression when you meet them, and how does this affect your conversion rates?
Let’s start with the conversion question first, as this is something you’ll all want to get your teeth stuck into.
Well, the first impression of most meetings will be 7 seconds (we know, that is terribly quick!). After these 7 seconds, you are able to redeem any negatives through the longer meeting, which we recommend be no more than one hour, and mostly about the client, rather than yourself, so you can mould your offering around their pains. This may strike you, but according to studies, only 2% of sales occur when two parties meet for the first time, the other 98%happen when a level of trust is created. This proves that you have a long relationship ahead of you, which makes it all the more important that the first meeting makes the prospect want to learn more about you, and have more meetings or conversations with you.
To build that all important trust, that is essential to creating an ongoing client, we find a few tips are useful:
- Wear the correct attire – you wouldn’t expect a personal trainer to turn up in a suit, as much as you wouldn’t expect a business coach to turn up in training gear. Think what you usually wear to the “office”, and this is probably the best option.
- Have a smile – be warm, and inviting, this can start with a simple smile, and a decent handshake. They will instantly relax and feel more comfortable around you, it’s a natural reflex!
- Get there early – there is no excuse for being late, and being there before the client will prove you are not tardy in your business, and that this person is important to you.
- Ensure the venue is quiet and has secluded areas – your potential client may have personal pains that they need to feel comfortable sharing, if the location you choose is quiet, and has a feeling of privacy, you will be able to gain a better insight into what this person requires from you, rather than a masked version.
- Ask open questions – these are so important at a meeting. Not only will it help you fully understand what your prospect is in need of, but it will also help them to feel important to you. The less talking you do, the better!
- Keep away from the features and benefits – my goodness, this can be a drag. Just think about the sales meetings you have been to previously, with potential providers, what turned you off? Sales jargon, features and benefits and that old chestnut “we’ve been in business for X number of years” – your client doesn’t care. They want you to solve their issues, and to have a person they trust do this for them.
After the meeting, we recommend an eloquent, but short, follow up email. This can map out the future steps you agreed on, or simply a “Lovely to meet you today, do have a great end to the week” or similar.
What are your essential top tips for meeting a potential client for the first time, in person?