First impressions are important and thus, when it comes to lead generation strategies, how you plan the first client meeting is always a very important step in the sales lifecycle. A salesperson must always be fully prepared to sell their company’s brand and the product or service accurately to a prospective client. While there is a great thrill in doing this, there is a lot of preparedness that goes into it as well.
Here is a guide that will help you when you are meeting clients – be that face to face, over a call or virtually.
1. Know Your Prospect
Before you meet a prospect for the first time, you must have all the information that you’ll need to strike the right chord with the company – whether that’s a face to face, in-person meeting or a call. Hence, before your meeting, you must learn about:
- Your company’s offerings or features, and your competitors’.
- The USPs of your product/service offering.
- The prospect and their business – for this, go through the company’s website, read recent press releases, do some research on the prospect on LinkedIn. Knowing this will help you to get an understanding of which product/service might interest the lead the most, strike a chord with them and have a meaningful first dialogue.
- The current market trends in your space.
- The usual list of queries or questions that are most often asked by prospects – these are usually about pricing, how they will benefit by using your product/service, case studies, how your brand is better than the others, and more. Knowing the answers to such questions clearly demonstrates that you have anticipated all their needs and they will warm up to you faster.
Remember that if you can back up what you say with statistics and data, it will add more weightage to your pitch and you will come across as a knowledgeable and confident person, but more importantly, it’ll show that you have done your research on the prospect and want to solve their challenges. A prospect will thus want to believe in what you say and you increase your chances of speeding up the sales and making a deal closure!
2. Pay Attention to How You Present Yourself
Lead generation strategies are not only about how you get the lead, but also about how you follow through with the lead. Hence, during a first-time client meeting, you must remember that you are a part of the brand. So, when you walk in through that door or get on the online meeting bridge, you should always present a professional image of yourself to the client – it makes the client feel that if they close a deal with you and your company, it will be with someone who is capable and responsible. Pay attention to:
- Your attire – formals work the best followed by company branded clothes with your company’s logo on it (and this work really well for certain industries)
- Your overall grooming
- Speak confidently and slowly – hurried speech is difficult to understand and also conveys nervousness
- Keep your tone polite but focused and professional
- If you are going to be presenting, then make sure that you know the presentation well and come across as an approachable person – only then will the prospect feel comfortable in asking you questions and begin to warm up to you
- Keep your energy high – when you show how excited you are about making this deal and how easily your product/service can fix the leads’ issues, they are likely to believe you as well
Added to this, remember that the prospect will have only a limited amount of time for you. Also, a person’s level of concentration begins to drop and that can lead to distraction if the meeting goes on for long periods. Hence, keep your focus right and discuss only the most important pointers.
Most of this holds true even in the current time when many meetings are being done virtually.
3. Value the Client
Give a Gift or Something They Will Value
Yes, when you meet a prospect for the first time, you will talk about your brand and your product. However, handing over a gift or something as simple as a file folder to accompany a brochure of your company or a small souvenir does create a good first impression. For instance, a writing pad or a pen with your company’s logo leaves an impression and creates brand recall. A welcome package will not only act as a ‘recap of the meeting’ for the client but it will also show that your company believes in transparency and values clients.
However, in recent times of the pandemic, this will see a shift. Instead of giving a physical item or gift, sending your prospects emails with offers or discount coupons or gift vouchers can be a great idea.
You don’t have to go overboard with the compliments and come across as false, but saying nice things to clients will make them feel good about themselves and they will, in turn, welcome you. For this you can:
- Speak to them about a positive experience that you have had with the clients’ company in the past – it could be something that you have experienced in your personal life as well
- Ask the clients for advice on a certain topic – this would make the prospects feel valued and they would open up more easily
- Pay them compliments about how wonderful it was to read testimonials wherein others in the industry and in the team thought highly of them
- Even if the meeting does not go exactly as planned, don’t close up – rather, compliment them with how much of a learning experience if was for you and leave it open for future opportunities
That said, don’t try to turn them into your friend – this is business after all. Yes, trust is important and compliments work, but overdoing it could make you appear as someone who is trying too hard to sell the product/service!
Listen to them
Meetings are not only about you talking but, in fact, more about listening to the prospective clients talk. This will help you to:
- Know more about the clients, what drives them, and what their needs are
- Know about the position of the clients in the market and what marketing strategies they are planning to adopt to grow their business
- Know about their problems and the issues that they are facing
When they are speaking, always take down notes and ask them more leading questions so as to dig deeper into the challenges they’re facing. The more you are able to understand their needs, the better will be the rapport that you develop with them, and the more you will know about them. Once you have all the information in hand you will be able to:
- Assess the clients better
- Help them to choose the right product offering
- Illustrate how your company has solved problems similar to theirs in the past
4. Follow-up After the Meeting
Your work is not done after the meeting is over – in fact it is just the beginning.
If you’re meeting the prospective person, it’s a common practice to exchange business cards. If it’s a virtual meeting, you’ll want to save their full contact information such as their cell phone, email, company address etc.
The important thing is to save your prospect’s contact info right after the meeting so you can follow up with them. If you use a contact manager like ScanBizCards, you will be able to capture the contact information immediately:
- By scanning their business card using your phone
- By saving contact info from their signatures using the app’s email signature capture
When it comes to effective B2B lead generation, this is the easiest way to save contact information on your CRM or email marketing system for follow ups.
Send a follow-up email with a recap of the discussion and also the way forward. You can also send the client a calendar invite for when the next meeting/call is going to happen. If you have created their contact and stored all the info on your CRM or a centralized database system using ScanBizCards, then all your contact information would be in one place. Adding tags to the names specifying details of the call, where they are in the sales funnel, and more would help you when the time for follow-up comes.
If you don’t get a reply in a week or two, follow-up with an email, or a call. When you speak, do remember to be genuine and polite and try to take the conversation as close to a conversion as possible and offer options for them to help them make a decision.
5. Follow Protocols of the New Normal
Covid-19 has forced the world to think differently. Hence, even though lockdown is now over, when it comes to B2B lead generation, face to face meetings are still limited, most being conducted in the virtual world. So, if you are planning on meeting your prospects, you need to take precautions – both for your own safety as well as for that of your clients’. Some safety measures that you should bear in mind are:
- Ideally go alone for the meeting and have a one-to-one meeting instead of with a group
- Make sure that the both of you are wearing masks and maintaining the required distance. With this in mind, try and hold the meeting in a large conference room
- Do not just drop in – do make an appointment to check if the client is willing to meet you in person
- Do carry a sanitiser with you
- While greeting your client, avoid shaking hands
- Some experts have advised against the use of air-conditioning. Hence, hold the meetings in spaces that are well ventilated and with the air conditioning off
- If you find that your client does not want a face to face meeting, then do not force him for one. Instead be accommodating and understanding and schedule a virtual conference instead
When sales reps go for meetings, they are filled with excitement and with the urge to close new deals. While this energy is good, it must be remembered that adequate preparedness, following certain rules, and maintaining a certain level of decorum is also equally important. Only then will prospects begin to trust them which will ultimately lead to conversions. Closures don’t happen in a day – patience and follow-ups are needed. If sales people remember this and continue with their efforts, there won’t be any stopping them from closing more deals.