Starting out with new clients’ needs some thought and preparation behind it or it could be all over before you even hit green for go. Your initial meeting dictates how well your business relationship will begin. For coaches, this first meeting is an opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism, expertise, credibility and to show the client exactly how you working with them will help their journey toward a much brighter future.
To ensure that your meeting goes off without a hitch, it will help if you consider more than just dressing your best to impress the client. You should prepare before the meeting takes place so you can give your full attention and energy towards the meeting. Some corporates like to call these initial meetings “kick off “or “launch meetings” although I suspect you will be keeping things a little less formal.
Here are key things you need to keep in mind for a fruitful meeting with your new client:
Learn as much as you can about the client. Your goal is to show your client that your services will meet their needs —demonstrate to them that you have the ability to see beyond what the client can see. Before you can accomplish this, you need to know their goals and motivations inside and out — their past and current situation, their relationships etc.
By doing your “homework” before meeting the client you’ll be well prepared to frame the meeting and address exactly what the client needs. Your client will appreciate how you’ve dedicated time to understanding their concerns.
Pay sincere attention to what the client says. 85% of what we know we have learned through listening. This was one of the statistics found in a recent study by Forbes Magazine.
Another interesting statistic from the study was that humans generally listen at a 25% comprehension rate. Listening should be a top priority during your first meeting with a new client. This is, once again, a demonstration of your professionalism and commitment to your client. It shows integrity.
The other area we struggle with in today’s modern world is the desire to multi task. Put your mobile phone or other device away, or even better, shut them off. Of course eliminate any other distractions. You’re just trying to jam in new behaviors and not giving your client the respect time and attention they need.
Get everyone in your team on the same page in terms of the meeting’s agenda. Every member has to be informed of all the main points that will be covered during the meeting, as well as assigned their specific tasks, if any. This creates a smooth flow to the discussion, allowing it to proceed without delay. If you are working solo or you have some of your work outsourced, note taking will be the key to ensure message transfer.
Follow up the meeting with a short summary. When the meeting has concluded, it’s always diligent to send the client a brief report of the key points that were discussed during the meeting — it can be sent on email, not too long, bullet points are easy to read. This email is also an opportunity to thank the client for their participation and input, to send a pricing for services (if it is at this stage), and to agree next steps to be taken and how they will be accomplished.