Whether it’s with clients, other business leaders, or employees during your first meeting, the right impression from the start can immediately improve your chances of success. You can get more leads, be better regarded, and end up with the best team. But if you haven’t been paying attention to how those first meetings go, you might not be aware that you’re sabotaging them. Here are four signs that’s the case and what you can do about them.
1. You Talk More Than You Listen
This is a hard pill to swallow for those who do it. Yes, you want to make sure you represent your business in the best possible light and you want to show them everything you can provide. If you don’t listen to them, however, it will feel less like a conversation and more like a cynical pitch aiming at what you want with little regard for them. That’s not good for building customer trust. Aim to glean some information about them and let them finish their thoughts when they begin. Beyond making you look more human, it can also feed you some facts that can help you better fit your pitch.
2. You Can’t Command Their Attention
You have to be a leader and look like a leader. Aesthetic matters, unfortunately, when you’re asking people to make a spending decision based on a personal impression. This means taking care of personal appearance and dressing both to the occasion and to represent the brand. Learning confident body language can help you project the belief that your product and your business can do everything you say they do.
3. You’re Not Remembered
You know a meeting has really gone south when you catch up with them a month later and they say “sorry, who?” Even if you grab their attention and get them interested, people have busy lives. Business cards can be a great way to leave a little reminder of who you are, but be aware that almost everyone in the professional sphere has business cards. You’ll need more interesting card designs like Z cards and great branded aesthetics to help yours stand out. If you get their email address during a meeting, it’s a great touch to send an email thanking them for talking to you. If there’s a certain topic you broached that you’re able to inform them on, you can shoot them a link, keeping that conversation fresh in their mind.
4. You’re Not Kind Enough
Conversations are about sharing ideas, yes, but they’re also about personal validation. You don’t have to look like a suck-up, but if you’re talking to a professional who’s listing off achievements and awards, give a little credit where it’s due. Be genuine. Clients and other business leaders trust those who celebrate their success. Take the time to make them comfortable before you launch into your spiel, too. Some people will want to cut to the chase and that’s fine. Others like to know they’re dealing with a real human being first.
As much as you might want your products and services to speak for themselves, you have to learn to speak for them, too. Where customers and clients can’t differentiate between different product offers, it’s the branding and the personality that can be the deciding factor.