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12 Tips for Effective Client Meetings – Part Two


Last week I shared 6 top tips from James White Saturday Sales Tips for consideration when meeting potential new clients.

Here are the remaining tips:

  1. Listen and allow them to talk. 70% of the talking should be done by them.

You’ll learn so much more about your prospect by listening to them instead of talking at them. And yet this is a mistake so many small business owners make. They have been told by so many ‘business gurus’ that they have to pitch and talk that they make the mistake of thinking this is what works in sales.

It doesn’t. Or not at this stage.

Use some well-curated questions to get them talking. Ask these questions in a lovely soft tone with real empathy! If you ask good questions, you’ll be able to learn exactly what their challenges are, better equipping you to solve them in a meaningful way.

Here are a few examples you could try

  • Tell me more about your business and some of the key challenges you’re facing right now and what action you’re taking to overcome these?
  • What are the typical challenges that you are trying to overcome at the moment?
  • How have the last few months been for you, and what’s been the impact on your business?
  • What are the main priority areas for you and your business at the moment?
  • How long has (this) been an issue/problem for you?
  • What are you currently doing to address it?
  • What have you done in the past to solve your problem?
  • How much are these issues costing you in time and energy?
  • How much longer can you afford to have the problem go unresolved?

Ask. And then shut up! How much easier will your role be if you know all the problems they are going through, what went wrong, and how they were disappointed with previous providers? Get them talking – you have everything to gain from listening to their story and understanding their circumstances.

  1. Record and write down what they tell you in a professional looking book.

What impression would you have of someone that took down notes in a dog-eared notepad versus a professional-looking book?

Alright, in our post-COVID world where face-to-face meetings aren’t happening as much as they once were, you might be able to hide your dog-eared notepad just out of sight, but that raises another good point…

Do you prefer to type your notes into a CRM or jotting them down in a notebook? Popping them straight into the CRM would be the most efficient thing you could do, but how does your prospect perceive this? Could they feel like your lack of eye contact (for your typing-note-taking) means you’re not really listening? Could they feel disconnected with this well-meaning action? If you do prefer to type into your CRM, make sure this isn’t happening at the detriment of the rapport you are trying to build.

Great notes allow you to write down key points such as activities that the prospect is doing that evening or the following day or what they have done. Great salespeople record this information and then ask in future conversations ‘the last time we spoke you were heading out for the day, did you have a good time’?

It shows the potential client that they cared about them and listened to them. It makes a huge difference.

People don’t remember what words you say but they do remember how you made them feel.

  1. Present your business card and material at the right time

Many small business owners go into meetings and presentations and within only a few moments of talking to a prospect, they’ve whipped out their business card, a brochure, and launched into a presentation talking about how good they are.

You have to be very, very careful about this. What that shows to your prospect is that you’re only interested in yourself and what you do, and not interested in them and their needs.

There may come a time at the end of the session where the prospect might say to you, “tell me a bit more about you or your business” or, “ what do you do?” or, “how do you operate?”, in which case I’d suggest you respond in the following way:

  • I’m happy to share some of that information/details with you. All I’d like to do is to arrange a follow-on conversation as well so that we can really explore the challenges you’re facing. I’d like to share a few ideas of how we might be able to help solve some of them”.

That type of response is likely to make the prospect feel that you care about them and that you want to know what’s right for them. If they do indicate however they’d like to know a bit about you, then here’s a great response for you to use:

  • I’m really happy to share some information about me and my company. What would be the key information you’d like to know? I can make sure I try and provide that for you.

When you ask that question, what you’re basically asking the prospect is “I don’t quite know what it is about my company that you want to know. Tell me what’s really key for you, tell me what you’re thinking”… When you do that, you should then be equipped to share the most relevant information your prospect needs. It may well be about how you deliver your service, how you achieve results, and how you make things happen. Now I know we’re eager, but remember, you need to present this information (that they’ve asked for) at the right time as well.

  1. Be clear on actions when you leave the meeting and what you need from them

A really good thing to make a sales habit of is to summarise the meeting at the end of the conversation. Enable yourself to say something like:

“I’ve really enjoyed our conversation today. Here are the key things I think we’ve covered, and what we’re going to do next” and then summarise what the key bullet points are and what you’ve agreed.

You want to leave the prospect saying, “yes, that’s great, that’s exactly what we’ve agreed from today”.

This will give you a clear perspective of what’s happening and expected from that meeting.

  1. Arrange a date and time for the next meeting

If you think the meeting has been positive and you think that there’s a real opportunity to work with them, then go ahead and say:

“I’ve really enjoyed our conversation. I’d really like to carry this forward to another meeting. How would that feel for you?”, or, “Would you feel having a second meeting would be a great use of your time after what you’ve heard today?”

Look out for their reactions! If your prospect responds affirmatively, “yes, this sounds great and I’ve really enjoyed it”, you should feel confident that they’re going to want to arrange a date and time there and then. Get your diaries out and confirm the next meeting with them right away. Say to them, “Would next Wednesday at 4:00 PM or next Thursday at 2:00 PM work for you?”

If they won’t give you a committed date and time for that next session, then something is wrong. You’re better off asking a question such as, “look, just be honest with me. It seems like you are not comfortable with a second meeting. Maybe there’s something that I’ve mistaken from our conversation? What would you like to do? What will be best for you?”.

You’re better off finding out that prospect is saying no at this stage, than you book it in the diary with high hopes and emotions, only to have nothing happen later down the line.

  1. Follow up as soon as you can after the meeting with an email

If email is not their best method then WhatsApp them, Facebook Messenger, Instagram DM them. Whatever the best channel is to reach them, confirm with them right away and in writing:

“Great to meet you today! I’ve summarised our points as these elements (here). We’re going to do (the following) on (this day) and I’m going to get you (this information). We’re going to meet at (this time next week). If you could come back to me to confirm this would be the case, that would be appreciated. I look forward to speaking to you!”.

Being clear about what you’re going to do and sending this in an email (or in any other appropriate communication channels) shows your prospect that you are professional. It also shows them that you’re organised. Your next step is to make sure you do the actions that you said you would.


If you can approach new prospect conversations in this way, I can assure you, this whole list of 12 actions are really going to help you get more from your first prospect meetings.