Proper preparation is essential for a customer meeting. If you think about the customer’s wishes and concerns beforehand, you can anticipate their questions. Good preparation allows you to confidently enter a meeting with a customer and radiate competence.
The first conversation with a customer is particularly important because you don’t have a second chance to make a good first impression. Thanks to good preparation, you will be more relaxed and appear more credible during the conversation.
Find out about the customer
A good preparation for a customer meeting includes learning as much as possible about the person you are meeting with and their role in the company. Being well informed about the company, the market and the competition makes a professional impression and above all shows the customer your interest and your appreciation for his company. Make a note of the most important information about the company, it is important that your knowledge of the company is up to date. Tell the customer clearly why you are there and what the goal of your visit is, this makes a natural conversation easier and takes away the customer’s distrust.
Plan the course of the conversation
Think carefully about what you expect from this interview and what your goals are. Think about what to say and what not to say about what to ask. Make a short plan of how the conversation should go and which points should definitely be discussed and which points are less important. In the course of the conversation you can still deviate from your plan, but it helps to have a fixed process in mind so that you can orientate yourself and not have to improvise. It also helps to go through the conversation with a colleague. Make a list of everything you need to take with you to the customer meeting, for example the laptop, business cards, a presentation, order forms, etc.
Correct body language
Pay attention to a well-groomed appearance and a confident demeanor. The way in which you approach the other person and how you shake hands with him or her influences the image of what the customer thinks of you. It is also important to look your interlocutor in the eye. Go into a customer interview with a positive attitude and healthy self-confidence; this has a positive effect on the course of the conversation. An open and friendly manner is important so that the customer feels comfortable. Positive topics such as shared hobbies and interests are a good way to loosen up the atmosphere at the beginning of the conversation. A positive energy and attitude also affects the client’s mood.
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes
Think about what questions the customer might have beforehand. This allows you to appear more confident. Understanding why the customer will ask certain questions is necessary in order to be able to give the customer a satisfactory answer. Your counterpart would like to be reassured and strengthened and to be provided with good reasons for their investment.
The customer also wants to know what advantage your product or service offers compared to your competition. The question of why the customer should work with you of all people may not be asked directly, but is very present for the customer during the entire conversation. The customer should not only get an explanation of the difference to the competition, but in the best case feel it.
A good relationship of trust is essential for a successful customer meeting. The customer should trust you, so that this is possible, you should appear natural, convincing and honest. Make yourself aware of your own weaknesses that you may have noticed during a previous meeting with a customer and try to work on them. Also, think of positive body language.
Make it clear that the customer is thinking of his own interests. Being able to put yourself in the customer’s shoes is the most important thing when preparing a conversation. Think about the needs and reservations the customer might have. A typical sales talk is rather annoying for the customer.
Therefore, you should ask the other person the crucial questions during the conversation. The customer himself should provide the important arguments with his answers, which you then only have to confirm. Explain to the customer that your product or service exactly meets their needs.
Be a good listener when the customer talks about their concerns and requirements; it comes across as sympathetic because you are expressing interest in their opinion. It is important, that the customer does not have the feeling that you are talking to them all the time, rather listen carefully and address their concerns. Give clear answers to his questions.
Follow-up to a customer meeting is always a good preparation for the next one. After the customer interview, make a note of the questions the customer asked you or what concerns the customer had that you did not expect and that surprised you. This will help you prepare for the next customer meeting.