I was tweeting with someone yesterday and made an offhanded comment about one of the things I do with clients that make for better meetings, relationships, sales, upsells etc. I have decided to share some of the knowledge I have picked up over my career. This will be the first in a series:
1. Always say “nice to see you” never say “nice to meet you” — In my sales career I have lead many meetings, some with clients, some with advertising agencies, some with a mix of both. After conducting these meetings for a number of years everyone in knew me, I left a lasting impression on people (probably because of my sales style which I will go into later). Anyway I realized very quickly that whether it was a company or an ad agency when I would come in people would always chat with me after whatever presentation I was doing and many talked about how they remembered meeting me 2 years ago (or whenever) and such and such a presentation. When you present something to 30 people its hard to remember them all, but from that I learned never say nice to meet you as you will insult people you might have met already. Best bet: “Nice to See You”
2. Calling people by their names; people like that, they actually love it. When you call someone by their name during a meeting it forms a bond and it is also something that is not forgotten. For those of us that might be challenged in remembering names, the ideal situation is to have the client’s business card in front of you. But, if thats not possible, write their names down and use them.
3. Be nice to everyone. If you have a meeting with a SVP don’t walk in with an attitude saying I only speak with very important people. Be nice to each and every person at the meeting, any VPs, managers, assistants, whatever, treat them with the same respect you treat the SVP. There are many reasons to do this, one is breeding and just being polite; another is I have seen so many people get promoted over the years that your next meeting might be with the assistant who was promoted to VP. Don’t forget the receptionist, always, always be nice to them. They are the gateway into the business you are about to enter; I know of companies that specifically ask their receptionist how people treated them and if they were dismissive. A colleague of mine and I used to go to one of the ad agencies here in NYC in the afternoon and bring a bunch of cupcakes or cookies; each and every time we told the receptionist that she had first dibs on what she wanted. Never be degrading or dismissive of people; its bad business and its rude!
4. Listen – Don’t Talk! I’ve seen this mistake from so many people, and not just newbies. I’ve seen VPs etc walk into a meeting and babble on about themselves, their experience. One of the best things you can do in a meeting is to make the meeting all about the client/prospect/agency person or people. Don’t tell them about your commute there, the subway being slow, lots of traffic, they don’t care. You are at this meeting to talk to them about their needs, goals, what they are looking for. I can’t tell you how many times I would be talking to a client and steering the conversation to exactly the questions I wanted answered only to be interrupted by a colleague (usually someone higher up than I was) who would bring the conversation in a completely different direction. Do more listening than talking; clients will appreciate that.
5. A couple easy ones.
a. Never be late, get there at least 15 mins early. I don’t usually go into a building until 7 minutes before the meeting. The point of being early is so you are punctual for the actual meeting, you don’t want to inconvenience your host by showing up 15 mins early.
b. Give a firm handshake
c. Look people in the eye when you speak with them
d. Always use the restroom first to check your appearance
More to come!