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Know how: Meeting with a potential client

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By JAKE RUDDY Guest Columnist

By Jake Ruddy
Guest Columnist

When you meet with a potential client, you need to maximize your opportunity. Many opportunities are missed because key guidelines weren’t followed. It’s important to understand that this meeting is not about you. It’s about your client and their needs.

Keeping this in mind, here are five things I know about a sales opportunity:

1. You have two ears and one mouth

Your job is to listen and answer questions. Do not assume you need to explain everything about your company and why you are the best. Chances are prior research has already been done and that is why you were granted the meeting. This meeting is about the client, not you.

2. Ask great questions

Questions show you are listening; great questions show the client you are engaged. Being engaged will help you build trust and demonstrate you are the right business partner for them.

3. Build a relationship

People do business with someone they know, like, and trust. You need to spend time to build a relationship, learn what is important, and earn the trust required to convert the meeting into a sale.

4. Feature/benefit selling is the worst

We live in an age where anyone can research nearly every product and service on the internet. You aren’t there to regurgitate a sales brochure. First, you need to learn everything important to the client and why you were invited. Then you explain exactly what benefits you offer to meet your client’s needs.

5. Wisely spend as much time as you are given

If a client gives you 30 minutes and is still fully engaged 45 minutes into the meeting, keep going. Forget about your next appointment and be present in the moment. A meeting that is scheduled for 60 minutes and goes 2 hours is not a long meeting; it’s a fantastic meeting.

Jake Ruddy is president of regional IT company PCS.

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