5 mistakes to avoid at your first client meeting
Congratulations are in order; you've contacted a hot new prospect who has been openly receptive to your initial sales call and wishes to meet with you to discuss their options further.
As a sales manager or salesperson this is music to your ears; you're on the way to your first meeting with a potential new client and hopeful of bringing in profitable business. You've thoroughly researched your prospect's background, company and purchasing habits, you know your own company's products and services inside-out and you?re ready to close the deal. What could possibly go wrong?
Potentially, lots could go wrong. There is an art to the conduct and presentation of successful client meetings and there are lots of pitfalls into which the unwary salesperson can fall, potentially at the cost of a sale. Thankfully, help is at hand in the form of Presentation & Client Meeting Skills; an exceptionally useful course presented by sales training experts Maguire Training. Not only does the course examine the importance of pre-meeting preparation, it also shows delegates how to adhere to appropriate client meeting protocol, create maximum impact and gain the agreement which leads to deal closure.
For anyone soon to be heading to their first meeting with a new client, here Maguire Training helpfully lists five mistakes which are better avoided if you are to build a rapport and impress the client sufficiently for them to agree to a sale.
- Assuming superiority
Although you might assume that your product and company represent the supreme solution to all of your client's problems, needs and desires, the truth is that you need them as much as they need you. Work together on equal terms and a mutually beneficial business relationship is likely to follow.
- Making a blatant sales pitch
You are meeting to explore the client's current situation; the problems they face, the issues they'd like to resolve, the direction they're hoping to take their business in, and their preferred means of getting from where they are now to this new and improved position. Get to know your client, build a rapport, establish trust and credibility and the actual sales process will seem less forced and more natural.
- Swamping the client with paperwork and marketing and collateral
What's the point of taking reams of paperwork to a meeting which the client may never have sufficient free time to read? You're there to suggest solutions, answer questions and provide information as and when it's needed and the best way to do this is through free conversation. Assuming the client still wants to know more at the end of the meeting you can offer to leave some product information or email it to them.
- Making it all about your company
It may be perfectly true that the business you represent is the best thing since sliced bread, but the client isn't at the meeting to hear nothing more than how good you are; they want to know how, specifically, you can help them to achieve their goals. By all means give a brief overview of your company and what it does, but ensure that the majority of the meeting?s emphasis focuses upon the client.
- Failing to agree a 'next step'
Sealing a sale may not be ultimate goal of your first client meeting, but it should have some action point or goal which must be achieved by the end. This might be to arrange a product demonstration, a more 'in-depth' second meeting or to produce and send a detailed sales proposal but whatever it is it should involve some kind of commitment on the part of the client to proceed to the next stage of the sales process.
No salesperson wants to make a mess of their first client meeting, but armed with the appropriate knowledge and meeting strategies there should be nothing to worry about. Sales training experts Maguire Training can equip sales managers and their teams with a whole range of essential sales skills and for convenience, invaluable courses such as Managing Accounts for Growth and Gaining Agreement and Commitment can be obtained as online training, effectively delivered by Maguire Training's innovative E-learning platform.