Meeting a New Prospect?

When you’re in a new sales situation, making a good first impression is crucial. Even if you’re an expert in your product or service and you understand how to sell to your customer, a sale can be ruined by a bad first impression. Here are some things to keep in mind when meeting a new prospect:

  • Arrive on time (and ideally early).
  • Dress appropriately for the situation. Over-dressing is safer than under-dressing; however, consider the environment and dress in an appropriate manner.
  • Smile! This puts the other person at ease in the situation. It is possible to smile too much, so make sure it’s genuine and don’t overdo it.
  • Be confident. Give a firm handshake, make eye contact, and stand tall.
  • Be human… and interesting. People feel more comfortable when they meet another person who demonstrates truly human characteristics.
  • Talk more about the other person than yourself.
  • Use the other person’s name. This makes them feel acknowledged and important. If you learn other names in your first meeting with a person (such as the names of their family members, , etc.), use these names in future interactions. This shows that you remember the people and things that are important to that person.
  • Be positive in everything you do and say. Negativity does not add to your appeal as a person.
  • Demonstrate your sense of humor. This helps relax the other person. Be sure to avoid lame jokes and don’t try too hard to be funny – this can actually detract from your appeal. Just let your innate humor come to the surface.
  • Find a connection. Remember, people have better long-term memory if they draw a connection between what is being said and their immediate life. Find a connection with the other person (e.g., mutual interests, friends, experiences). This can lead to further conversation that will increase your appeal as a person.
  • Before you leave the first meeting, write three things on the back of the person’s business card: where you met, something you discussed so that you can have a smooth transition in your follow-up communication, and what the next action step should be.

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