7 aspects to keep in mind in your first business meetings

3 min reading
7 aspects to keep in mind in your first business meetings


Giving a good first impression or showing professionalism may be the key to opening the doors to that deal you are willing to close. These are seven tips for a successful meeting:

1. It is vital to believe in the product you’re selling. Showing self-confidence and some mental preparation prior to the meeting may be at the end what tips the balance in your favor. It is important to generate a solid business expectation to be achieved in the medium and long term, and lay the foundations for a lasting partnership.

2. Be clear about the services you are going to offer and how you will do it. A doubt at the wrong moment or not knowing the product you are offering can mean that your first meeting will also be the last one. Don’t make the mistake of criticizing the competition – nobody is interested in a critical and negative person. Respect the others’ services and limit yourself to express constructive criticism.

3. In a world with almost everything already invented, the key is to innovate. It may sound difficult –and it is– but you must try to offer something new and go beyond what the company is requesting: suggesting additions to their proposal and improving it, exceeding their expectations, should be your goal. Defining a clear USP (unique selling position) is also vital. Think on several brands: you will notice that each one of them conveys a main idea: youth, leadership, safety… find out which is your main proposition and let it be remembered.

4. You must gain a thorough understanding of the buyer, study the company as if it were your own business. Check the development of its activities in recent years, if there are articles about the company in the press or specialized media, who is in charge of its business, etc. The more you know about them, the easier it will be to offer them advantageous proposals and surprise them. If you are really interested in a client, let them see it. Whether the first meeting is successful or not, remember this: try to look good. According to Michael LeBoeuf, a leading American consultant, “if the customer experience is pleasant, it is most likely that business relationships will be initiated and your product will be recommended to others; if it has been neutral, the probability drops to 50%. But if the experience is negative, the client won’t buy anything and he will tell it to more than 20 people.”

5. Show a professional corporate image. Even the best ideas or offers can go down the drain if the logo and the motto of your company shown during the meeting are poor or very common. It is worth investing time and asking a good creative/designer to do this, because the benefits are guaranteed.

6. Be persuasive. Study negotiation and time management techniques. But beware of falling into commercial aggressiveness, as you may put your potential customers off. It is better to show elegant manners and never reflect eagerness to sell your product. Desperation is not a good ally

7. Learn to listen. Explaining who you are is essential, but listening and understanding the other party is also important. Trying to impose your thoughts will only reduce your chances of success. You must learn from the reactions of the other person. That is, you must perceive those messages and know how to interpret them in order to get the interview, but also learn to improve your technique and use it in the future. It is also important to be patient: don’t expect to close a deal in the first meeting – just aim to open the door and establish a long-term relationship.

If you follow these guidelines the chances of success are very high, but you must not forget to communicate in a natural manner. Moreover, in this globalized world it is more than likely that the meeting will be held in another language. In this situation don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t understand something or if you ask to review the key points or conclusions. Overall, try to be as communicative as possible and keep in mind that if the meeting occurs in the native language of the other party your effort and the content of the conversation will be appreciated above how you say it or if you have or not a foreign accent.

Don’t forget either about non-verbal communication, as it plays a very important role in the process. A bad gesture can ruin a good deal. It is essential to show an adequate and meticulous body language in every step of the negotiation: a proper use of the hands, the look, the smile, the tone of the voice, the way how you feel, etc.

Remember that gone are the days when the salesman “cajoled” the other party. Today the consumer or buyer is much more informed, is more demanding and even in many cases wants to participate in the design, creation, production, distribution and marketing process of the product or service. This poses new challenges to organizations and places negotiations on a new dimension. Before, the process was unidirectional and the consumer was only heard during the after-sales service, where there was almost no negotiation. Moreover, remember that negotiating is based largely on having information that you appear not to have. Finally, note that although there are people with special skills, negotiators today are not born, but made.


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