The first time you meet a potential client is crucial. If you start on the wrong foot, you’ll never see them again, as they probably have 10 other competitors to choose from. Don’t kid yourself that you’re the only company doing what you do in your area or country. The cruel virtual reality is that in most cases, you’re competing with the world.
With so many opportunities, second chances are a rare commodity in business relationships. So making sure you never hear from them again is rather easy. If the potential client called the meeting, some of these five issues might not be so devastating (maybe they’ll brief you on what they do), but if you asked them to hear you out, take these easy steps and they’ll work hard to forget you ever wasted their time!
Photo credit: Engin Erdogan
How to never get called for a second meeting in 5 easy steps
1. Come utterly unprepared – If you don’t know who they are and what they do, they won’t expect you to come up with great ideas or services. They’ll instead spend 30 minutes to fill you in and then another 30 to answer your questions. Never mind all the info is already up on their site, that they run a blog and so many of their employees are on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. Never bother to find out more before the meeting. Cause what would you talk about then?
2. Say nothing relevant about yourself – Tell them everything you can about where you’ve worked, lived and what you do for other clients, but make sure it is in no way relevant to their business. If they’re in IT, talk about the car manufacturers, if they’re not interested in an IPO (and let’s face it, who is in this economic environment), talk about sucessful IPOs you’ve helped with. Laughing alone at your own jokes is a nice touch at this point.
3. Don’t listen – Listening is overrated anyway! You’re the expert, so there’s no point in listening to what they have to say. When they’re trying to explain particular traits of their line of business, ignore them. All businesses are the same, there’s really nothing new out there and you’ve seen it all!
Photo credit: Tiare Scott
4. Never adapt to their requirements – Obsessively push your solution, no matter how many times they say they’re not interested, they want to go in a different direction, they don’t believe it is the best solution for them. As an expert, you have the Perfect Plan that Never Fails! They should change their business to fit the plan, and not the other way around!
5. Make sure not to give them the slightest hint you could actually help them – if they want to get to a common ground and get some value from what you have to offer, help them fail! If they’re asking about similar companies, you must no nothing of them. Search through your printed PowerPoint three times before telling them the closest you’ve got is not exactly in their field, only slightly connected. It helps a lot if what you did for that other company can never add any value to their business.
See, it’s extremely easy! And the bonus? You don’t have to spend any time getting ready for such an important meeting. Just get some general info about yourself, don’t do any research and go there to be your charming little self! That should do the trick. You’ll never see that potential client again and you won’t have to worry about fitting them into your already busy schedule.