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Create a Relationship, Not a Client – First Client Meeting

August 27, 2021

Learning to handle clients is not easy, no matter which business you’re in. Every first client meeting is different, so it’s important to learn how to “read” people’s needs. If you want to gain a trustworthy relationship with a client, you will need to prepare for this meeting. In the following article, we made a list you can use in order to communicate with potential clients like a professional.

First client meeting – tell your story

When meeting with a potential client for the first time, it’s important to let them know more about your business. In order to create a relationship instead of a client, you will have to tell your story. Although the focus of your meeting will be to sell the service (or a product), you should also be ready to leave a good first impression. 

It’s always a good idea to talk about your previous experiences, successes, and other things your company’s proud of. Also, you could mention how your team works and what guides your decision-making. Of course, talking about these subjects should follow the interest of a potential client. While explaining why your company is the best option for the client, make sure to keep it short and uncomplicated. Some people love long and interesting stories, but most business people prefer talking about the main subject of the meeting. Follow your intuition and make sure if your potential client is listening carefully. 

Sell your services, not your personality

Being good at sales is not easy since there is a wide range of clients to deal with. There is a common myth that says – it’s better to sell a personality than sell a service. However, this is not the best way to create a relationship with a potential client. Making it too personal can make your company seem less serious and unreliable. 

Instead of talking about how serious you (personally) are about the business, you should talk about your company. It’s a good idea to make them think about your company as their friend. This way, your brand becomes their best ally and your team will be the winner in your client’s eyes.

How to create a relationship, not a client?

Creating a relationship with a potential client has many upsides. Instead of treating them as something you will be profiting from, creating a partnership will show respect. On one hand, clients are looking to get the best deal for the service they buy. On the other hand, they are looking for an ally who will help them improve their own business. For many companies, the process of sales is a natural, daily task. However, many executives struggle to handle their first client meeting. Since there are different people to handle, it’s no wonder that every meeting is a different story.

Everything from the introduction to the conclusion of the meeting should have a positive tone. While negotiating with a client, it’s important to focus on a positive attitude so everyone can listen to each other’s needs. Your narrative on the first client meeting shouldn’t be “too serious”, but it also shouldn’t be overly friendly. Finding the perfect balance is not easy, but it's key to a successful first meeting.

Listen to your client’s needs

One of the key techniques good negotiators use is – listening. By realizing what a potential client wants, you will have more time to mentally prepare for your next answer. If you realize they don’t like what they’re hearing, you will have time to adapt your answers and become better at negotiating. The overall goal is to try to “read” the person in front of you and make them realize you’re ready to make it work.

When talking about problems and solutions at a first client meeting, being persuasive is the key. For example, if you had a similar experience with a previous client, point out how you came up with a solution. Showing that you’re ready to be “hands-on” regarding a problem will get you better results at the end of a meeting.

Be transparent

Nobody’s business is perfect. Every company has its flaws; no matter what industry is in question. When it comes to the first client meeting, there are always some issues that can come up. Some clients are too demanding with presenting their needs and wishes. When talking to them, it’s important to stay flexible and present a few different solutions. However, an even more important thing to do is to stay transparent. It’s ok to show flaws and speak about things that are out of your reach. This will help your client understand the possibilities of your mutual collaboration.

Keep in mind the first meeting agenda

Besides all negotiating techniques, tips and tricks, there is another aspect of the first client meeting you should prepare for. Plenty of people get lost in the conversation and deviate from the topic. This is why you should always focus on the agenda during the first client meeting. Here are some things your potential client will be looking on the first meeting:

  • Are you the best option for the service they’re looking for?
  • Are your services affordable enough?
  • Will you be ready to act flexible and meet your client’s needs?
  • Do you understand the essence of their problem?
  • How many adjustments can they get for the service paid?
  • Does your company understand the client’s long-term goals?

These, and many other questions are just some of the most important you should expect. During the first client meeting, it’s important not to deviate from the main topic. More importantly, you should always act like you have your client’s best interest in mind.

Be prepared for the first meeting

Gaining profit is the main goal of most first-time meetings with clients. Although this is a reasonable long-term goal, it’s important to focus on gaining the client’s trust. Every meeting is different, and many times situations come up that people are not ready for. In order to “rock” your first client meeting, you should prepare in advance. By doing the research and making a list of questions to ask, you will seem more reliable to your potential client. Even though a client is usually the one to ask questions, it’s important to understand everyone’s needs and goals.

Creating a successful business is all about treating people the right way. It’s no wonder that so many billionaires “have a way with people”. Improving negotiating skills and techniques is the best way to handle tough first client meetings. By showing respect and credibility, you will create a long-lasting relationship with a client. As a result, you will get a win-win situation and both sides will gain profit.

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