Be Brilliant! How to prepare for that effective first meeting

Jul 19, 2018 | Blog, Business Development, How we help clients grow

Initial meetings with potential clients or with new people at existing clients are critical opportunities. This applies to every industry whether it be engineering, law, property or commercial. A first meeting can be the difference between years of work and no work at all.

So how can you ensure your all-important meeting goes swimmingly (or some other kind of wow statement? How do you maximise the effectiveness you have when face to face with a client? Like many things it is 70% in the preparation and 30% in the execution/delivery on the day. Follow our proven steps to success, and you’ll find yourself having more impact when it comes to the crunch.

Get Our Free Business Development Meetings Training

Learn tried and tested strategies to help you excel at sales meetings tailored to the professional and engineering services sector

A free and unique sales training guide

DO YOUR RESEARCH

Knowledge is power, and never more so than when you’re walking into a room full of strangers. That means research is vital.

  • What do you know about the client organisation and the person or people you are going to meet? Do some background research using their website, LinkedIn, and search engines. What can you learn about the individuals you’re trying to connect with?
  • Ensure you are up to speed with news in their world. Find out what the hot topics and key issues are in their industry at the moment. This applies to all industries including engineering, law and all professional services. What are the lastest technological innovations in the engineering industries? Are you up to date on the latest legal developments? What’s current in the commercial property sector? Keeping your knowledge current will be key in portraying yourself as an industry expert they’ll want to do business with.

PREPARE A POSITIONING STATEMENT

It’s now time to plan a short and snappy positioning statement for your meeting . This should be an extended introduction to you and your organisation – not a ‘pitch’, but more to ensure the client really understands what your business does. Ensure your Positioning Statement has the 3 following elements:

An overview of your business – where you operate, numbers of people, industry sectors
Your Department – Specific details about your area of the business, for example, the types of clients and projects your department has worked on

Your Areas of Interest – what have YOU been involved in? How have YOU helped clients?

MAKE CONTACT PRE MEETING

It’s always a good idea to send a short note in advance of the meeting to cover off things like:

  • Where and when the meeting is taking place
  • Ask who will be there from their side ( ideally find out their job roles/remit and why) – this is useful to ensure you match up the attendees from your side..
  • Outline the areas for discussion
  • Ask them if there are any specific areas they would like to cover – and make sure you include those in your meeting plan
  • Send relevant content in advance (ie slide deck, research paper) and explain why you think it might be useful. This demonstrates to the client that you are tuned in to their business and the potential challenges they may be facing.

Think about attendees

It’s important to give some thought to who will be going to the meeting so you are prepared in how to engage with them and create that all important great first impression. Here are some tips:

  • Broadly match numbers. For example, if you are meeting two people, send two or three people, not five.
  • Meetings are much easier with a colleague. It is difficult to conduct a business development meeting on your own, given that you will need to ask questions, actively listen and also take notes.
  • Consider the type of people you are meeting, and try to reflect the dynamic when it comes to age, seniority and gender.
Questas – Business development training

Running effective meetings is just one strategy to help develop a business. Questas provide business development training for industries such as engineering, law and property to help professionals from a technical mindset create significant results and sales performance.

Read more about our business development training.

We are a business development consultancy which is passionate about helping our clients develop processes, skills and behaviours that will result in increased sales and improved margins.

Start our online cross selling course today

Cross Selling is a skill that, once mastered by engineering and professional services executives, can have a radical impact on business growth.

The interactive e-learning is CPD certified and is designed to help you uncover new opportunities with existing clients.

Questas Cross Selling

 

Our Professional Services Cross Selling Training is online today, so now you can start honing your cross selling capabilities in just 30 minutes.

Start here

Practise, practise, practise to build new habits!

How to turn workplace learning into sustainable, positive habits. Commissioned by The Training Journal March 2021 An organisation’s ability to learn – and translate that learning into action rapidly – is the ultimate competitive advantage. This is according to Jack...

Emotional Intelligence is the Key to Selling.

CREATE CONVERT RETAIN WITH GARY WILLIAMS. THE QUESTAS PODCAST: EPISODE THREE In conversation with Alison J Coates, founder member of Re\vo. ABOUT THE GUEST In this episode, Gary is joined by Alison J Coates, founder member of Re\vo. She is a GENOS certified Emotional...

Nothing wins like success: Making meaningful client relationships.

Create Convert Retain with Gary Williams. The Questas Podcast: Episode Two In conversation with Ed McCann. Nothing wins like success, making more meaningful client relationships and surviving the pandemic.   ABOUT THE GUEST In this episode, Gary speaks to Ed...

Being human, the art of client relationship management

Create, Convert Retain Podcast Episode One covers a number of areas including the impact of the pandemic on client relationships and business development, what it takes for (very) reluctant sellers to get motivated.

3 Essential business development tips for professional & engineering firms post-pandemic

How can professional services firms best transition from survival to growth mode?The past 18 months has seen many professional and engineering services firms batten down the hatches as the pandemic took a grip on our lives and the economy. Thankfully, many of these...

Unnatural salespeople are your secret weapon when it comes to winning work

Your hidden salesforce are the unnatural salespeople! It's time to unleash their potentialUncovering business opportunities and winning new clients is a crucial aspect of doing business especially in professional services and engineering firms. So, not surprisingly,...

The Future of training: Online? In-the-room? Or both?

What is the future of training? At Questas, the past 12 months have taught us a lot about how to successfully deliver virtual training. We know that you can’t simply take a classroom designed training session and simply put it online. It doesn’t work! We know that...

The most effective attributes of a Key Client Manager

The argument as to whether Key Client Management is something most professional services firms should or should not do came to the conclusion of a resounding YES many years ago. The success of those programmes has varied with many organisations reporting huge...

6 Things to do in 2021 to win a bigger slice of a smaller pie

After an extraordinary 2020, most economic forecasts are predicting a tough year in 2021 for most sectors. Many suggesting we will not reach pre-pandemic levels again until the end of 2022. It’s a gloomy thought and one where the Ostrich strategy of sticking your head...

Pitch Perfect – How to use story telling to structure the perfect business pitch

Storytelling connects people and builds trust in business, which means the best way to make your pitch memorable is to turn it into a story.  This isn’t a new method - the blueprint for successful storytelling has been around for a long time. You only have to look at...

Get in touch