By Afiq Jauhari
Different people have different personalities and while some enjoy meeting new people and striking random conversations over coffee, others may find it a daunting and tedious task. In business however, meeting people is inevitable whether you like it or not (unless you do your one-man-show online business from your basement). Doing your own homework and knowing the do’s and don’ts could give you a slight edge at the meeting with your new clients, and send you on your way to building a better business relationship in the future.
Location, Location, Location
You certainly don’t want to be late for a meeting. Google the place of the meeting and make sure you know exactly how to be there. In case of an early meeting, anticipate the traffic behavior as well. The ‘traffic jam’ excuse is not very appealing, and panting when you meet the client is certainly appalling. Don’t be complacent when the meeting is scheduled at your place, send over the map to your place and if possible, arrange transportation over if your new clients are out-of-towners. A little act of kindness could go a long way!
Shall We Lunch?
What time is your meeting and would it be over lunch, tea or dinner? If you can arrange for your clients’ for lunch or dinner before the meeting, they could be prepared and would not be put in a weird situation plus that shows how prepared you are. You can gain extra points for that! Some clients might turn you down due to some reasons, but hey, at least you tried.
Spy Them Out
Don’t be a stalker. All you need to do is to know a few things about the people you’re meeting. Get to know who they are and their positions in the company. More importantly, get to know their Company! You can cruise into pleasant conversations without getting caught like a deer in a headlight. The worse thing you could ask is, what kind of business are you doing? Instead, rephrase the question cleverly with “I could see that your business is very successful, your products x is your main business and how would you take our products to that level”, or something along those lines to show that you know what you are talking about.
Don’t Do the Don’ts
A shirt buttoned 2 buttons down for women in the West might be perceived differently than in the East. One exudes confidence and sexiness while the other might see is as shameful act. Get to know your clients and do some research about the do’s and don’ts. Dress right and please avoid from offending your clients, especially when you are meeting the big bosses. One misstep could cost your company a fortune.
Bring along smiles and personality
Always, always start with a casual conversation. Don’t dive straight to, “how much revenue did you make last year?”. Instead, how about, “You look great. How’s your family?” - business will always be business but many successful businesses thrive on great relationship!
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