So you’re all prepared for that brand-new-client meeting/phone call. But something still niggles at you..how will you break the ice with this client and set the scene for a warm, friendly and most of all, productive encounter?
As we all know, it’s the chemistry in human interaction that makes all the difference in business (as in every other area of our lives).
So how do we go about achieving this magical chemistry with our clients?
One technique I find hugely helpful is to use current affairs as a springboard. Choose a hot-button topic and get shmoozing! Ask your client for his/her opinion on, say, the upcoming elections/ global warming/ last weekend’s football matches. Then draw them out a little on the topic (the challenge here is not to let the discourse drag out).
This will encourage them to open up and be more receptive to you – and your wonderful business ideas – for the remainder of the meeting.
Another tip is to try to find common threads between you and your client. Whilst you need to be respectful of privacy, repeated one-on-one interactions will often lend themselves to this (just asking your client what he/she did on the weekend is a great opener to chatting about their families/hobbies etc).
One of my clients is a runner (many of you know now that I am, too) and we often compare our progress at the start of a session. It really is a great “warm-up” (pun fully intended)!
The key here, I believe, is to remember that clients are people, too. When you start a business meeting with a brief chat about issues dear to their heart, your clients will “loosen up” and warm to you as a fellow human being – and your chances of business success will be that much higher.