So you’ve gotten past the first two steps of a first meeting: connecting with your client and ensuring you’re both in alignment. What next?

Today we’ll sum up what happens during the rest of the meeting, and what you need to do to transition into asking for the sale.

The Third Step of a First Meeting: Clarify

This step is where you show off your listening skills and confirm what your potential client has already revealed. This process should be concise and straight to the point. Read back what they’ve said to you in the form of a short summary.

Clarifying shows that you’re a great listener while validating everything the other person has said. It also makes a great opening sentence for your proposal: “You’ve asked us to…” It reinforces the idea that you’re sharp. You’re professional. You’re not a designer – you’re a consultant.

The Fourth Step of a First Meeting: Ask

It’s time to ask some important questions. First, find out what that person is looking for in a proposal. Do they want case studies? Do they want an outline of your process? Do they want to know about your pricing structure? Do they want you to lay out a schedule? Do they want all of the above, plus more? This is where you find out.

This part of the meeting is also your opportunity to ask “what will it take for you to buy from me?” It’s up to you whether you ask this question in every meeting. If things are going perfectly and no one is raising any objections, it might not be necessary. However, this question will reveal exactly where you and your potential client are aligned. The more you know what they’re looking for in a partner, the more likely you are to make a sale.

Using the ask portion of your meeting wisely also keeps you from being put on the defense for objections. For example, I get objections on cost quite often. As soon as I feel that that objection may come up, I’ll slip in “I’m not sure you can afford our services.” They’ll start making up reasons why they can afford you. Use this part of the meeting to redirect to reduce the impact of objections.

The Final Step of a First Meeting: Next Steps

Transition from the ask section of your meeting by clearly asking your client “would you like us to put a proposal together?” If they say yes, or (even better) if they’ve asked you to begin with, it’s time to move onto your next steps. Find out more about what they need. Do they need a proposal by the end of the week? Are they looking for something specific? Make a note of it, then make it happen.

The Bottom Line

First meetings can be intimidating, but with the right formula they can also be incredibly productive. Use this checklist to increase the chances that your first meeting will transition into many more.

Author Sang

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