Whether its an internal client or an external customer, the crucial first meeting where you have your presentation often dictates the kind of partnership you will have and ultimately, determines if the person you present to will be a customer at all. Here are a few things to remember in your next client call to make sure it ends on a high note.
Have the right probing questions
When you are making the presentation, it’s always so tempting to jump into why your product or service is the best. We forget that the product we are offering is only as good as our customers say it is. That being the case, we should give our customers the chance to share how we can help them. Bring four to five questions which you can ask your customer at the beginning of your meeting. Questions such as “What are your challenges with the current process?” or “What kind of improvements do you envision in the next three months?” will allow you to learn about your potential client and also give you the time to maneuver your presentation into one that will most likely provide the most appropriate solution.
Value your customer’s time
There is nothing more annoying than wasting another person’s time. Coming to a meeting late or coming unprepared both communicate that you have little respect for your customer. Relationships that start on this note are very difficult to repair. Come to your meeting ten minutes early so that you can set up your laptop, plug your tablet to the projector or do whatever it is you have to do prior to your scheduled appointment. If you say that the presentation will only take thirty minutes, make sure that you stick to your commitment. If the customer has any questions beyond the time you committed to use, there is no harm in simply asking your customer if he is willing to stay a couple more minutes for you to answer his queries.
Differentiate features from benefits
Yes, there’s a lot your product can do. It saves time, effort and money and only limited resources are needed to start. However, your customer is not just concerned about what your product can do, she is more concerned of what the product can do for her. That is the main difference of a feature from a benefit; features are just the cool attributes of your product while benefits are the attributes that can specifically solve the problem of your customer. When you ask your probing questions, listen carefully to the answers you will get. Chances that you will close the deal are hinged upon the benefits you will present that actually make the life of your customer easier.
Know the power of a thinking pause
A thinking pause is a moment within your presentation where you ask a question, not to get an answer, but simply to allow your customer to think through his decision. If you are selling a house to a couple with three children, your question could go like this– “How do you think the kids will find this garden once we set up the play area?” This question will create a thinking pause for your customer. The thinking pause is that brief moment when the lovely couple starts to imagine a swing, a slide and a see saw in the garden where their kids start to play with the family dog. Do you think you’ve closed the sale? You are one step closer.
End every meeting with action steps
People meet many other people everyday. If you don’t close your meeting with the next steps, you will not be remembered and chances of you getting the other foot in the door will be limited. End each meeting with the action items you will do to move things forward as well as the action items that your customer must do to move things forward. Having this discussion brings commitment from both parties on the table. You can then say goodbye with a smile knowing that you have offered help someone actually needs and you’ve also set up yourself to make a comfortable follow up call based on your agreed action items.