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10 Steps To A Successful Virtual Business Development Meeting
Virtual business development meetings have become a way of life for many of us. Ensuring they are successful requires a well thought out plan of action.
If you are a business developer, client relationship manager, or a technical expert who is required to win business from both new and existing clients, then how you manage your virtual meetings is crucial if you are to get the positive outcome your job requires. Luckily, we have come up with a way to help you!
THE CURRENT CHALLENGE
THE GOOD NEWS
The good news is that clients still need to buy your services. We have created a simple 10 Step Plan to help you increase your chances of success.
Before you start your meeting, ensure that you understand your audience. Do you know what each person on the call is looking for? Research suggests there are between 4-7 stakeholders involved in making decisions, so try to understand who those people are and where they are coming from. Rehearse the opening, particularly if you are co-presenting with a colleague.
What can you do before the call that is relevant, informative and valuable? Perhaps send a thought leadership piece on the subject you’re due to discuss? Or a video introduction with an agenda or discussion topics? Even at this point you are building relationships and showing your knowledge of your client’s world.
Take the time to get to know your video calling platform. Learn the tools, ensure that Internet connectivity is solid and have a contingency plan! If we have learnt anything about virtual meetings, it is have a Plan B if your technology glitches.
Get on the call a minimum of 5 minutes early, so you can check everything is working and be calm and ready when your clients arrive.
Cameras on! Start the meeting by facilitating a who’s who on both sides, including each persons role in this meeting if appropriate. You want everyone to feel included and important.
Take time to do the small talk at the start of the meeting – it matters! It’s all you have to create a human connection and we know that if we don’t make the emotional connection we reduce our chances of success by as much as 25%. Try to find common ground to help build those relationships.
Start the meeting by checking their time availability, explaining the agenda and how you see the meeting playing out. For example, are you inviting questions throughout or holding to the end? If you need to tell them about your organisation, do so but keep it short! This is not the time to go into detail about when the company was formed, the number of services you provide, how many offices you have. Keep your ‘corporate positioning’ short and sweet, no longer than 2 minutes.
This is where to spend the majority of your time. Explore their world, ask good, open questions. Listen like you’ve never listened before. Be aware of the dreaded ‘professional pounce. (Read more about this in our 3i Meeting guide.)
9.Summarise and Inspire
At an appropriate point (with around 15mins remaining of the meeting) ask the client if it would be a good point to summarise your understanding of their situation, its challenges and any opportunities. Once you have the green light reflect back the key points, emphasise those areas where you sensed the biggest issues and concerns
Bring the meeting to a close by asking the client what they see as next steps. It might require you to hold your nerve at this point and allow a short period of silence. Don’t worry this is perfectly normal and will put you in the driving seat. As soon as they respond they are involved in that next step.
After of all that hard work, it’s vital that you follow up in the next few days, ideally sending something that speaks to the discussion you had and will add further value to your client.
Our training is bespoke to each client – see our approach and how we can help your business grow.
Turning the listening up to 11!
Now more than ever in Business Development, we need to listen to our clients to gain the insight that will help provide competitive advantage and close the deal.
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