As an owner or manager of a start-up business, you are likely facing an uphill battle to secure clients and gain traction in your industry. It can be challenging to get those first few clients, which is why we are sharing some top tips on how to impress potential customers and increase your chances of achieving a contract after your initial consultation.
Investigate the Client Thoroughly
Your potential client is looking to invest ample time, money, and trust in your service. Rather than coming in with a blank face and a lot of questions, you’ll want to come in understanding their pain points and armed with solutions to their problems. We recommend thoroughly researching your client prior to your meeting, which includes:
- Investigating their brand, business goals, achievements, and failures
- Knowing the organization’s leaders and hierarchy
- Understanding which problems they are facing and which questions they may ask
- Having a firm grasp on how your service provides the solutions they need
Have an Agenda
When it’s time to meet with this potential client, you’ll want to make the most out of everyone’s time investment. We suggest having an agenda planned ahead of time to ensure a streamlined meeting. Of course, depending on the client, you want to leave some extra room for small talk or follow-up questions. Therefore, if you have 40 minutes worth of agenda to address, we recommend scheduling at least an hour of time to talk to them!
Make it Easy for them to Get to You
If your potential client is flying in from out of town to attend a meeting with you, a courteous way to impress your clients right off the bat is to offer them a ride. No, this doesn’t mean picking them up yourself in a minivan. Instead, you can hire private airport car services to transport them to and from the airport to their hotel (if needed) and the office. This extra step will demonstrate that you plan to invest as much effort into your partnership with them as they will with you.
Dress for the Occasion
Many start-ups conduct business remotely nowadays or out of the public eye. While this is relaxing and takes the edge off the working environment, it can leave you looking sloppy if you walk around in loungewear. When you meet with potential clients, you’ll want to dress for the occasion. Whether you are meeting them in person or virtually, you should be dressed professionally, neatly, and with style.
We want to note that if you are meeting them in person, your professional clothes should still be comfortable. The last thing you want is to wiggle around in your neat because something is poking at you inside your clothes, or you feel like you’re melting, because they will notice.
Give Them Something to Take Away
We encourage you to have something prepared for them to take away with them at the end of your consultation. For a virtual meeting, this may be a media kit or other documents for them to review. If you are meeting in person, include those documents along with a small gift, such as business swag, or something your research about them indicates they may enjoy. Remember, keep it small and humble; you aren’t trying to bribe them.
Make Sure to Follow Up
Before they leave the meeting, ask about the best way to follow up with them and agree on next steps. We recommend sending an immediate virtual thank you. You can also reference suggestions for moving ahead and express that you look forward to their decision.
Remember to be mindful of clients who are interviewing multiple people, as it takes time. By asking when you can expect to hear from them, you won’t push too much but have a timely and efficient follow-up process.
Always be Prepared for “Whoops” Along the Way
We will be frank; life rarely goes according to plan. Whether it’s heading to a meeting with your client, prepping to present via computer or are sending over contracts to sign, you should always be prepared for those “whoops” moments. “Whoops” can be anything from a computer failure; a popped tire, or a family emergency! These are unplanned situations that may prevent you from completing your presentation promptly, efficiently, and professionally. So, how can one prepare for “whoops?” We recommend being ahead of schedule; leaving wiggle room in the plan to address problems and keeping a key line of communication available should a situation arise that planning wasn’t able to prevent.
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