Every long-term relationship starts with a first meeting. Your first meeting lays the foundation stone in gaining your client’s trust and achieving a successful business relationship. That is why you should prepare well in advance and do your homework to influence the outcome of the first meeting.
One way to do homework is by analysing social media profiles of your prospective clients to learn about their interests. This will help you strike a conversation during your meeting.
Besides doing background research, there are some other important steps you need to take. Here are some tips that can help you convert a prospect in a single meeting.
Begin with a light conversation
Your goal is to get the prospect to work with you. That does not mean that you get down to business talk right from the start. Instead, break the ice with some light conversation. Stick to safe and non-controversial topics. Talk about the weather or sports. In short, make small talk.
Probe the prospect
Once you have attained a certain comfort level with the small talk, probe the person and try to be a patient listener. This will help you know your prospect better. Ask questions about business, goals, family or any issues the prospect is facing. This will show that you care.
Let your body talk
First impressions are based not on what you say, but what you project through non-verbal signals. When meeting a client, a lot depends on how one comes across to the other person. Make sure you have a confident posture and a smile on your face. Also, do not forget to make eye contact.
Dressing up right can help you leave a positive impression on your clients. The way you dress is a direct reflection of you and your abilities, so the clothes you choose should project a professional image.
Pick the right meeting place
Where you hold a client meeting can make a lot of difference. The right venue ensures the client is relaxed and the meeting achieves its objectives. Unless you have a very comfortable and convenient meeting room of your own, you may visit prospects in a location of their preference.
Pratibha Girish of Finwise Personal Finance Advisors likes to conduct meetings at client’s home and coffee shops, as she feels that the location of the meeting can shape the outcome of the meeting.
Instead of confusing the prospect with financial jargon, tell stories. It is a great way to promote your ideas. When you tell the right story about yourself and your business, you create the foundation of trust and your capability. Shifali Satsangee of Funds Vedaa said, “Drawing analogies and parallels through narratives or stories helps investors relate easily to what we want to communicate. Also, the probability of the investors recalling what we conveyed to them is higher, when conveyed through stories.”
Scope of engagement
Keep note of all the points that you need to discuss with the prospect. Tell the clients about your services and how can you help them in achieving their goals. Don’t over promise and under deliver. Set their expectations right.
Once the prospect has made up his/her mind to engage your services, it is best to talk about the commission you get from the product or fee and the value you would provide in the first meeting itself. Shifali says, “While onboarding my clients, I tell them about my compensation. This helps them decide, if they want to work with me. It also helps avoid any future misunderstanding,” she says.
Finally, after your meeting is over, it is a good idea to send prospects an email, which sums up the key points of your meeting and the future course of action.