What an exceptionally busy day I’ve had marketing my clients services; now that the Olympic flame had been extinguished it seems that everyone is fired up and eager to make business happen. I made arrangements to meet one of my besties for a cool glass of Billecart Salmon; it had been a tough day and champagne was definitely in order.
My friend recently started up her own business providing career coaching to corporates. She has been successfully coaching people from a variety of sector over the past five years, focussing on helping them to reach their desired career goals. But she admitted to me that even with all her skills as a coach, at times she finds working for herself a bit daunting, especially as marketing and sales are not her forte. However, she is well aware that if she really wants to become one of London’s leading career coaches then she has to get to grips with these two crucial disciplines and that’s why she called on me for help…
A mutual friend of ours has secured a meeting for her with the Training and People Development Manager of a very large accounting firm. She’s excited at the prospect but nervous at the same time. She wants the meeting to be a success but isn’t sure of the steps that she should be taking to put herself in the best possible position. Here’s what I shared with her over our glass of fizz – ok maybe two glasses!
- Confirm the meeting via email. This is especially important if someone else has arranged the meeting on your behalf.
- Make sure you do your research and don’t just search for information on the company but also the person or people you are meeting. Use all the social network tools as well as the company’s website for information.
- Carry out a press search to see what the company has been saying to the press and who have been the spokespeople for the company.
- Build in some cushion time so that you arrive at your meeting with time to spare so you can ready yourself – there is nothing worse than rushing for a meeting and then having your face breakout in a sweat.
- Always greet your client with a winning smile as you shake their hand.
- At the start of the meeting check if your client is still ok to give you their time – things happen during the course of a day and often meetings have to be squeezed – your client will appreciate you being sympathetic to their needs.
- Tell your client how pleased you are to have the opportunity to talk to them. You don’t have to be mushy about it but let them know that you appreciate the opportunity – people love to hear this.
- The objective of a first meeting is not to sell but to get another meeting in the diary. It’s about using the opportunity to start to build a relationship with a potential client. Corporates very rarely make a decision to work with someone on first meeting them. It takes time and there is a process to go through before contracts are awarded.
- If you have a 60 minute meeting then use your time well. The key in a first-stage sales meeting is to find out about the problems they are dealing with – remember you are the solution to their problems but you need to extract from them what their issues are.
- Always follow up and stay connected – so often people give up after they have a couple of meetings which haven’t resulted in a sale. Client relationships need time to grow and be nurtured.
Have a great evening everyone. Carole