4 Steps to Making a Good Impression when Meeting Prospects

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As you prepare for a new business meeting or client presentation, remember that your personal presence can make an even stronger first impression than the content of your words. Here is a checklist of the elements of delivery, content, and attitude that convey assurance and credibility to prospective and existing clients and referral sources.

  1. Preparation
  • Devote serious thought to what you want to ask and present rather than “winging it.”
  • Think “why do they need me?” to project a credible attitude.
  • Try to identify the buyer’s motivations—and appeal to them
  1. Attitude
  • Non-verbal cues garner 90 percent of the attention.
  • Come across as likeable, someone they would like to spend time with. Smile.
  • Show through passion a belief in your message and what you are selling.
  • Start small and get some quick results.
  • Don’t appear defensive, whatever they may question.
  1. Credibility

Factors that convey credibility include:

  • Perception of honesty and commitment.
  • Sincerity of interest in helping.
  • Perception of education, knowledge, and experience.
  • Dynamic delivery.

These aspects of language detract from credibility:

  • Hesitation; voice fading.
  • Ending statements with a questioning voice tone.
  • Hedging.
  • Overdoing “very” and other intensifiers.
  • Compound questions.
  • Tentative words like “hopefully.”
  • Absolute terms like “never” and “always,” unless documented.
  1. Know What Motivates Buyers
  • Perceived benefit and value because they lack or need something.
  • Achievement.
  • Fear.
  • Affiliation.
  • Power.
  • Ego.

Remember prospects and clients need to know, like and trust you to put their business in your hands.

About the author:

Phyllis Weiss Haserot helps firms increase profitability and productivity by attracting and retaining clients and employees of different generations, improving the working relations of their multigenerational teams and facilitating knowledge transfer and succession planning. She is president of Practice Development Counsel and a recognized expert on business development and workplace intergenerational challenges, speaker, author and facilitator. She is the author of The Rainmaking Machine and The Marketer's Handbook of Tips & Checklists (both Thomson Reuters). Reach her at [email protected], www.pdcounsel.com. View her YouTube videos at her Generational GPS channel. © Phyllis Weiss Haserot, 2014. All rights reserved.

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Great checklist, Phyllis. But wow, how could anyone remember all that! If you had to pick THREE things for someone to take with them into an interview, which would they be? My choices: devote time to what you want to present (and how you will present so the client understands its value); know -- or find out -- what motivates the buyer (usually it's a PROBLEM that needs solving); start small and get results. And I'd always add, be sure to finish the meeting by agreeing on the next step!

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