The Internet has absolutely transformed the way that we do business; however, there comes a time for every entrepreneur when there’s a need for a face-to-face meeting with a client.
Whether it happens in-person or over a platform such as Skype, it’s going to happen eventually.
The question remains: are you prepared?
Even if you’re a solopreneur that operates a business that mostly operates in the digital space (think: editing, graphic design or web development), chances are that you’re going to need to beef up your interpersonal skills if you really want to take your business to the next level.
Consider any combination of the following tips to be fair game if you’re looking to make a lasting impression on your new clients and give them no choice but to fall in love with your business.
Create the Perfect Meeting Environment
Appearances are everything in the marketing world; likewise, you should do everything in your power to give your meeting environment a sense of professionalism.
In the case of an in-person meeting, you should strive to pick a location that ensures you have a certain degree of privacy (think: not a noisy coffee shop). Stylish and modern office furniture can score you brownie points if you’re having the meeting in-house, although the same rules apply for those holding a Skype call. After all, your office should be up to snuff whether or not you’re working from home.
In short, make sure that you’re keeping up appearances as means of showing off your professionalism.
Make a Good First Impression
There’s nothing more important than making a good first impression. While setting up your office environment happens during the planning phase, what are you going to do when it comes time to reveal yourself to clients? Make sure that you do a combination of the following:
- Dress the part: you should make sure your meeting attire is appropriate based on your industry (when in doubt, overdress)
- Mind your communication: be careful with your words leading up to the meeting and maintain a positive tone
- Keep them in the loop: follow up in the days prior to your meeting and make sure that everything’s squared away in terms of living and location
Do Your Homework
Prior to meeting your prospective clients face-to-face, make sure you’ve done your research in terms of what they represent. For example, what does their professional portfolio tell you? Are they seemingly laid back or perhaps a bit more traditional in terms of style?
Understanding your clients’ professional history can uncover common ground and great talking points that can help you woo them in conversation.
Doing your homework and researching your client not only shows that you’re professional and prepared, but also shows that you have a keen attention to detail. That being said, don’t go overboard when it comes to flattering your clients, as such an attitude may come off as insincere or phony.
Don’t make the blunder of not paying attention to what your clients are saying when it comes time for your actual meeting. Take notes and do everything in your power to be a good listener: this will also help when you follow up and thank your client for their time. Attentiveness can go a long way toward signaling yourself as a valuable asset versus just another face in the crowd.
You don’t have to have immaculate interpersonal skills to “wow” clients. Instead, create the perfect setting and scenario that shows your clients what you’re worth and ultimately influences them to stick with you.