Published: 05 January 2019
In our line of work, meeting a client for the first time can feel like a blind date. If it wasn’t for their secretary, we might need our clients to carry a rose in their hat just so we know exactly who they are. It can also feel like a performance! You want to showcase your competence, professionalism and then sprinkle in a bit of mindreading for the ultimate wow factor. The more prepared you are for your meeting, the more naturally these things will come! Here are 5 keys for WOWing new clients:
1. Look at The Jobs Section on Their Website Beforehand
It’s not necessary to mention that you have done this bit of sleuthing but by eyeballing their latest postings you will learn which departments are growing and in need of your services. From there you can research who these department heads are on LinkedIn and ask some leading questions (nonchalantly, of course) around how these teams work with your clients team. Bonus: The easiest, least abrasive way of mushrooming an account while in a client meeting is to simply ask for a tour. At worst it shows you are a considerate recruiter; at best it gives the opportunity to match any LinkedIn profiles you uncovered prior with a handshake along the way.
2. Set the Agenda
We are living in a society that struggles to keep focus. As I write this I am also checking my email and changing songs on Spotify. The best way to counteract a wandering eye or glares at the clock is to start the meeting by setting an agenda. Letting the client know your intentions for topics of discussion and when you plan to wrap up can mean a more engaged meeting especially for any stragglers who have been brought in to join the meeting unexpectedly and likely don’t know as much as you do about the circumstances. The most important aspect of setting the agenda is sticking to it. If you see time is running tight, best to call attention to it and give anyone who needs to leave the opportunity to do so.
3. Be A Body Language Master
You can tell a lot about a person from a handshake. You can also tell something about a person’s professional ranking by their chair position at the boardroom table and whether a person is confused or following along by the movements of their head. If you can pick up on the subtleties of body language it can give you an advantage and provide clues on how to make the meeting the most impressive and enjoyable for your client. Since body language is subconscious, in a lot of cases you will seem like a mind reader by simply paying attention.
4. Take Notes on Actual Paper
Taking notes is great because no matter how hard we try to retain information, our memory can often fail us when recalling after the fact. When given a choice, taking notes on paper is preferable. It communicates a diligent, professional appearance that a laptop or phone just can’t compete with. Most times when people are typing during meetings, they begin with a preamble about how they’re not being rude but taking notes and that’s because it generally comes across poorly. Writing with a pen and paper is less distracting to others and gives you an opportunity to continue to make eye contact versus having a big glowing square in front of your face.
5. Ask Questions and Reemphasize Next Steps at The Close of The Meeting
After you have spent the majority of the meeting attentively listening to your clients express their plans, questions and concerns, it can be useful to wrap up by clarifying any questions that you have about what was mentioned while you have a captive audience. Following that, it’s always best to reemphasize the next steps and with whom they are assigned so that everyone is on the same page and there are no surprises when it comes time to move forward. It may seem like overkill but by taking this extra 5-10 minutes at the end of the meeting versus saving it for a follow up email, you are saving everyone some time (and reducing their email!) which is often greatly appreciated.