Let’s look at a few ways you can improve your first impressions and increase the impact of your sales meetings.
It has long been recognized that the first impression has a big impact on the outcome of any interaction, and this is true for your meetings with prospects as well. When the clients you are pitching to are often senior executives or other high-ranking people with power to make big decisions the first impression is incredibly important. Because of their position and responsibility, their time is inherently precious to them and they will judge you on the first few minutes of the meeting on whether they want to give you more of their time. If you give the wrong impact at the start of the meeting, you might not further time to improve the situation.
So just how can you make a power impact with your prospects? What is that makes the difference between the first impression that a top salesman makes and that which a poor salesman makes? Let’s look at a few ways you can improve your first impressions and increase the impact of your sales meetings:
When you first meet someone you instantly and subconsciously judge them based on their clothes, their shoes, their posture, the way they talk and even the emotions and expressions they show on their face. When you enter a sales meeting with your prospects, they will instantly judge you on these factors and many more. The good news is that you can learn to control every aspect of these non-verbal cues that people use to judge you. You can start to wear more appropriate and professional looking clothes, purchase better shoes and work on your posture. With enough effort, you can improve each and every one of these areas. If you’re not sure what needs to be improved ask for feedback from fellow professionals, this is sometimes painful but necessary!
Your attitude when you enter a meeting will have a significant impact on your impact on your prospects. You may not realize it but if you are struggling internally, your poor emotional state can be subconsciously externalized. When emotionally you’re in the wrong place, your shoulders slump and you lose some of your confidence: so if you’re still thinking about the fight you had with your partner the night before when you enter into a meeting with your prospects your impact is going to be significantly reduced. Before meeting with your prospects, make a conscious choice to have a positive, friendly and professional attitude.
A significant part of your first meeting with prospects should involve asking questions to find out more about their business and how you can help them. The questions you ask and the way you phrase them will have a significant effect on the impact you have on your clients. For example asking the prospects “How are your sales going this year?” could be a good question to ask in your meeting, but “Knowing that this has been a tough year for many in this industry, how big of a stretch will it be for your sales organization to meet your targets?” could be far more effective. The question is similar, but more challenging, displaying a greater knowledge of the marketplace and making them think and give a serious answer. Of course, in some situations this question might be inappropriate – but the key thing to take away is that you need to think about and plan the questions you are asking in advance, and then refine them further.
The biggest thing to remember when aiming to make a power impact with your prospects is to never stop looking for ways to improve the impression you give and the pitch that you deliver. Reviewing your strategies and the possible reasons behind the success and failure of each of your meetings should be an ongoing process, not a one-off event.
Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.