You have your first client meeting booked in. Congratulations! This meeting is important because it could lead to you being able to confirm your very first booking; your first client. To help you prepare for this all important meeting and all of the sales meetings with potential clients that will follow, I am going to walk you through what I do to prepare for a client meeting, where the aim is to sell ‘me’ and my services to that potential client; yes a sales meeting. I also share my tips for what to do immediately following the meeting.
The tips are designed to give you a broad outline to consider, but I want to encourage you to use them only as a starting point for how you will approach your own client meetings. Alway keep in mind when preparing to meet a client that they have called you, or filled in your contact form and agreed to meet, because they like the look of what you do. They are drawn to your brand message; therefore your meeting style needs to reflect your business brand style, which should be an extension of your own style. So you must develop a meeting style and structure that reflects back to the customer what they liked about you in the first place. This will take practice and I encourage you to do role plays with friends and family and even talk to yourself when you are alone, to develop a style of presentation you feel comfortable with.
Now for my tips for preparing for your first meeting with a client who you want to turn into a customer
Research. Before any client or business meeting I do my research. This is harder when it comes to a private client like a Bride and Groom, because of course, stalking people on Facebook is not really the done thing, but you can still do your research before the meeting. I like to do this with a short questionnaire that I send to the potential client ahead of our meeting and I don’t have one standard questionnaire for every couple. I ask about 10 questions based on information they provide me in either our initial phone call, or when they complete my contact form. My questions always include one that asks them what they want me to know about their wedding and how they would describe their wedding day. The answers to these questions help me to understand the couple and their wedding better, but more importantly they help me to understand why they contacted me and that is what I am going to be able to use to help me sell them on the benefits of my services.
Prepare. Determine where you will meet and at what time. Now plan how you are going to get there and what time you need to leave to ensure you are there at least 15 minutes before them. Think about what you will wear and what you need to take with you. When considering how you will dress, think about what you know about the couple and who will be attending the meeting (just them, or their parents too?). When in doubt, dress conservatively. You also need to consider what resources you should have with you at the meeting. Your Portfolio and Brochure are useful to have with you and I present mine on my iPad (which I make sure is clean and in a nice case, not a used one). Use the 15 mins before they arrive to review the information they gave you and your own list of questions and then if you can, put them away, or to the side because your priority during the meeting is to listen and ask questions based on what you are discovering. Turn your phone off, or to silent and put it away and out of sight. If you feel more comfortable taking notes, have a pen and notebook handy but if possible try to just take dot point notes as they speak, so you don’t become distracted from the conversation.
In the Meeting. The best advice I have for you is to be present. You should listen more than you talk and when you talk, don’t talk about how great you and your business is. Put the spotlight on the couple and talk about how you can be of service to them and you will learn this because you have been listening to what they are saying and perhaps to what they are not saying. You will also have been observing; their body language and how confident they are in telling you what they want and how they interact with one another. Keep the conversation in that space; relate everything you tell them back to their day, their concerns and how you can provide them with what they need.
After the meeting. I tend to stay at the meeting space until after they leave and take notes about our conversation whilst it is fresh in my mind. I also note my general impressions. I follow up later that day, or early the next, with a very short email thanking them for their time and inviting them to ask me any questions they have. If I am going to be sending them a proposal, I tell them when they will have this by and I make sure they get it before that day and time.