In Parts 1 and 2 of this series, we examined what to do to prepare before meetings with prospective clients. Now, let's take the final step and look at how your behavior will affect the sale during the actual meeting.
One final thought before actually entering the meeting room ... turn off your cell phone. If you are in a situation of urgency, explain before the meeting starts, set your phone to vibrate and then only accept a call or text pertaining to that situation. Ignore all others.
Accepting calls, texts or emails does not prove how busy you are. It only proves the person on the other end of the device is more important than the person with whom you are sitting. Think about it. How do you feel when you are the person sitting with another and waiting for him or her to end a call or text that has interrupted your meeting?
So, let's imagine you are five minutes early to the meeting (as you should be) and have been seated in the client's conference room. If you are male, stand if a lady enters the room. Whether you are male or female, stand when someone senior enters the room. That means someone obviously older than you or of a higher ranking.
Details You Should Never Overlook in a Meeting
- Always introduce yourself with a handshake. Ladies, make that a firm grip. Make eye contact during the interaction.
- Always introduce the person accompanying you.
- No one works for you; they work with you. Don't say "John is my coordinator." Say "John is The Key Class coordinator." See the difference?
- Body language says 90 percent more than words can say. Sit up straight, don't slouch, and keep your focus directed on the other person. Show interest, listen and pay close attention.
- Do not name drop. If the client wants to know with whom you have worked, then let him or her know.
- Do not try to impress. If you are impressive, it will show. People who have it don't have to prove they have it.
- Never discuss personal information about past clients with anyone. It does not impress people. It makes them worry what you will say about them.
- Never make disparaging remarks about others. Knocking someone down does not bring you up. Compliment the competition at all costs, and then throw up later.
- Remember the magic words! Please and thank you.
- When visiting a client's office, (before sitting down with them) take in the decor. Comment on photographs and awards or special art. People appreciate your noticing the details. It shows how observant and detail-oriented you are.
- If you are given another person's proposal to follow, refuse. Would you want someone to do that to you?
The Key Golden Rule to Never ForgetRudeness is a weak man's imitation of strength. How you treat all others - employees, a waitperson in a restaurant, fellow team members and peers - reflects who and what you are. Never talk down to anyone. Never assume it doesn't go unnoticed.
When Dining or Entertaining Prospects or Clients
- Always be careful with the amount of alcohol you consume. One cocktail before dinner and one glass of wine with dinner. Period.
- Over-drinking makes you vulnerable. Remain in control of your faculties.
- Order good quality wine but not excessive in cost.
- You don't want the client feeling that he or she will be paying for it in the end.
In the End, Remember to ...
- Always tell the client that you want their business and will do anything it takes to satisfy them.
- Say this no matter how long the relationship has lasted between you and the client.
- If you make a mistake, own it! You will gain far more respect than trying to shove a mistake under the rug or blaming someone else.
- Going after business is not showing off how successful you are. It is how successful you can make your client. So be humble! You are there to serve.
So much of sales is developing personal relationships. If you adopt and maintain the behavior outlined in this series, you will find clients willing and eager to work with you, and you will make many friends along the way!
— John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, the keys to life skills success. Click here to learn more about The Key Class or to get his book. If you have questions about business or social etiquette, just ask John at firstname.lastname@example.org. Connect with The Key Class on Facebook. Follow John Daly on Twitter: @johndalyjr.