Are You Speaking Your Customer's Language?
Make Customer Meetings Effective
After calls and emails, meeting a customer in person is an opportunity for progress. A structured meeting with an outline and agenda can be productive and measurable. Often customer meetings can go awry if you enter without preparation and goals. Depending upon the stage in the customer’s journey with your company, a meeting can change the course of your partnership with any client.
While placing the meeting request, take some time to outline the agenda of the meeting including the expected outcome. As you fine tune the presentation and add relevant information to it, get to know your client, the company, and their business well. Communicating goals is an important step internally as well as externally. It assigns responsibility and effort to each member. It is also essential to have information about the client’s industry to understand the external problems that the company might be facing at the moment.
Focus On Them
During the meeting, while you might be pitching your offerings, keep the focus on your client and their needs. Emphasis on what your company can offer to them precisely as opposed to what you offer to the world in general. Discuss their business needs and problems. Focus on selling a solution instead of a product. Pitch your product as an essential to their business instead of just pitching your product.
Think Big Picture
While you might be meeting this new client with a set goal in mind, look beyond the set objectives. Take some time to ask questions and get to know the client’s thinking process and point of view. Spending time in understanding the client’s vision for the company and business objectives at this juncture can lead to better ideas and more business opportunities. Though the client might expect a certain kind of solution from you, this will help in creating better and more relevant solutions.
Meetings are the perfect opportunity to have dialogue which is both necessary and insightful. These are opportunities to go a step further and dig deeper. When suggesting a solution or a service, first understand the problem. Ask the right questions to understand the cause of the problem instead of offering a solution at face value. Getting to the reasons and causes is a great way of getting insights. Addressing a deeper issue will also bring more value to your partnership.
Share What You Know
Apart from your services, share what you know about the client’s industry and your specialization. Sharing the right information at the right time, picking points from the conversation to share analytics, and illustrating innovative solutions that your company has created for other clients, is a guaranteed way to showcase your credibility and expertise. As meetings are a two-way conversation and are fluid, such conversations only benefit both parties. After the meeting, follow-up with the client with your case studies and published insights to support the same. The familiar adage, ‘Knowledge is Power’ continues to rule to this day.
Show Openness And Adaptability
It will be very rare that you will find clients who agree with your every point and vice versa. Meetings are the ideal time to resolve any conflicts that you may be facing with your clients. Not only does it give you a chance to avoid miscommunication, but it also guarantees that client values your effort. Depending on the nature of the conflict, formulate a solution beforehand. In a meeting, it is much easier to show openness and dedication to achieve a fair resolution.
If you are meeting the client for the first time, understand that there will be an uncomfortable moment or two. Be prepared to put your point across and be clear about your negotiating positions. Throughout the meeting, maintain focus on reaching a positive outcome and engineer a win-win situation for both parties through communication.
Plan the Next Step
While concluding the meeting, plan a final next step. Always end with an actionable point to ensure that discussion continues and your meeting achieves results. Make the meeting memorable for the client by following up with something of value to them. It could be an article that will resonate with them or just a sincere mail saying thank you. Use this chance to cement your new association with the client on a positive note.