When it comes to business, first impressions count. Here we take a look at some simple steps you can take in order to make a good impression on potential clients or future partners.
If you are showing potential clients around your site, your factory for example, then make sure it is tidy and presentable. Make your staff aware that some important visitors are coming in and tell them to be on their best behaviour. Make sure everyone is busy, or at least looks busy.
If you don’t have a smart office in which to meet, then hiring a meeting room City based can be a great idea. While you have the room, make the most of it and hold as many meetings as you can.
Know your stuff inside out. Your potential business partners won’t have all day and will be looking to get a deal done quickly and efficiently. Make sure you know all the relevant information, such as pricing structures, turnovers and such, off by heart. In addition, learn as much about the people you are meeting as you possibly can. Try to put yourselves in their shoes and ask yourself questions such as ‘what are they trying to achieve from this meeting?’ and ‘what are their motivations’?
Always be smart and presentable but dress appropriately. It sounds simple but if you’re a hands-on manager it can be tempting to meet new clients in your scruffy work gear. This can be appropriate for some meetings so you will have to decide for yourself. But if in doubt, a smart suit and tie never hurt anyone. If needed, make sure that the appropriate safety clothing is made available to your visitors.
Speak well and drop the jargon
If you have a very strong accent it may be worth toning it down a bit, especially when addressing international visitors. Try not to use any jargon that your potential partners may not follow. This can be alienating and time wasting. Explain yourself simply and concisely.
A business discussion should never be a monologue. It should always be a conversation. Well-prepared speeches are okay but a series of short statements punctuated by questions is much better. Listen carefully to what is being said and concentrate on answering questions in a straight forward manner. Being a good listener is not as complicated as most individual think it is. When having a conversation with someone, be sure to let him realize in a subtle manner that you are paying attention to what is being said. Finally, do not interrupt when someone else is speaking. Obstructing someone in mid is extremely rude and will count as one strike against you in just about any social situation. Real etiquette is suggested at all times.
Make use of person’s name
Take a minute to think of some people you met recently. If you experienced someone who applied your name on the get-go, you will probably agree that the idea made the conversation much more personal.
Moreover, it shows the other person that you were focusing from the very beginning and that you allow them to have enough importance to be able to memorize their label. A bonus is that by using their name immediately, you will be more prone to remember it in addition to impress them a lot more should you face them a next time.
Keep a positive, ‘can do’ attitude at all times. Potential customers can be demanding and they have a knack of asking for something that you hadn’t planned for. If this happens, take a deep breath and consider how you might meet their needs. If it really isn’t possible then explain this and try to find a compromise or an alternative solution.
Hold off on the jokes
Injecting humour into a business meeting can be a great icebreaker but it is fraught with danger. It can appear flippant or your sense of humour might be different to others in the meeting and fall flat. Jokes are fine in their place but may be best left for the future when you have gotten to know your new colleagues a little better.