The King of the Jungle and the first rule in the sales book.
Start the meeting with light banter but as soon as you can, encourage your potential client to talk. Ask questions. Then ask more questions.
Listen as if listening was going out of fashion. The more you know about your potential client, the more you'll know about their needs and how your product/service can help.
Only once you understand their position are you ready to talk about what you do.
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Not in movement, but in manner. I'm not suggesting you copy the other person's every move (this can seem contrived), it's more a case of taking into account their manner and reflecting this in your own.
If the person you're meeting is softly spoken, best not to shout. If they are gregarious, let your own personality shine.
Play back what your potential client has said. This will ensure you have properly understood their needs and will demonstrate that you have listened.
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With a clear understanding of requirements, confirm how you are able to help. Do this with clarity and confidence. Show how your offer will plug gaps, deliver return and meet objectives.
If the client is happy with what you're suggesting and signs up to a sale, then bring the meeting to an end. Resist the temptation to outstay your welcome.
Now it's time to deliver on what's been promised. Send a courtesy note to thank the new client for their time, confirm in writing what was agreed and start work.
With a solid first contract under your belt, there will be time to develop the relationship; building chemistry and finding common connections. This will encourage customer loyalty and you'll ideally be in the position of never having to feel like you're selling to that client again.
Written by Emma Jones, this article was published on March 11, 2009. Emma's opinions are her own and for general information only. Always seek independent advice. Emma is the founder of Enterprise Nation [www.enterprisenation.com] and author of 'Spare Room Start Up — how to start a business from home' - published by Harriman House.
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