Connecting with prospects in person will always be a more effective way of winning business than Zoom meetings. Face-to-face meetings are at the heart of building successful relationships, so it’s time to brush up your skills – after all, the market shifts aren’t making it any easier to get clients! Having observed a significant drop in agency owners reporting an optimistic view about growth in 2023 compared to 2022, it’s more crucial than ever that you are not letting any prospects slip through your fingers!
Here are some of the most common client meeting mistakes and our top tips on making sure you avoid them.
Lack of proper preparation
After a few years of virtual meetings, you might underestimate the effort it takes to prepare for a face-to-face prospect meeting. Whether you like it or not, the game has changed this year and everyone is racing to snatch those clients.
Failing to prepare is not an option. You need to know about their business, what their competitors are doing, and how they are doing it. Have an understanding of their company culture, values and goals – but, most importantly, what their pain points are, so you can come in on your white horse and save the day! Research is key, so use all the tools at your disposal - from your CRM (previous history against the prospect), through LinkedIn, Google, and social media, to industry publications.
Non-existent listening skills
It is important to remember that client meetings are not just about you talking and selling your service. The prospect is also there to talk and share their needs and expectations of you. Talking too much can make the prospect feel like you are not interested in their needs and does not allow them to fully get across their requirements. And remember – for every time you don’t pay attention to their pain points, someone else will!
You need to actively listen and take notes. To help you get all the information you need out of them, make sure you are asking open-ended questions - this will help present your services with the right angle, personalised to their needs.
Especially when times are tough and competition is breathing down your neck, it’s easy to fall into the trap of promising the stars and the moon. This however is a sure-fire way to end in a disaster. It is better to be upfront with the prospect to let them know what is achievable - whether that be timescales or delivery. Remember - you are the expert in recruitment, you know the market and should be able to advise your prospect. This will paint you as someone confident and realistic, instead of another recruiter trying to get their fee!
Speaking to non-decision makers
It’s not surprising you want to get out there as soon as possible and start pitching – and it might be easy to fall into the trap of speaking to anyone who is willing to listen, especially if you’re running on desperate energy! However, think of your meeting schedule like your phone schedule: would you make time for calls with people who aren’t decision-makers? Didn’t think so! Don’t waste your time convincing someone how great your services are, just to hear ‘Thanks, I’ll pass it to my boss!’. Make sure you research the company – and its decision-makers – before the meeting.
Forgetting to set the agenda
You’re not calling in on your prospect to drop off doughnuts and catch up on the last two years of watching Netflix – you’re there for business!
Be clear about your expectations for the meeting in advance. A few days before you visit, email all attendees with a clear meeting agenda that says exactly what you’ll cover and how long you’re expecting it to take.
By setting an agenda in advance, you’ll show your client you’re in control and give them the opportunity to weigh in on what they’d like to discuss, too. It also ensures your meeting has a structure that makes everyone leave with the answers they need, instead of a list of TV crimes series to watch next.
Not discussing the next steps
It’s not uncommon for recruiters to get so caught up with a meeting that went well that they forget to properly close the client and set up a plan of action!
Make it your goal to walk away from the meeting with a plan of action in place. Before you leave, outline everything you and your client have agreed on so everyone knows what the next steps are.
Whether it’s working a particular job for them or just agreeing a time and date for the next meeting, everyone needs to know what comes next.
Not following up
By the time you travel home from your client’s office, it’s easy to forget about sending a follow-up email. But it’s important you stay close to your client after the meeting and keep them accountable for what you’ve agreed.
As soon as you’re back at your computer, thank them for their time and email your meeting overview alongside the agreed next steps. This will show the client that you are serious about working with them and – what’s even more important – that you’re committed to delivering the best and most professional service possible!
To learn how to create a bulletproof sales pitch from start to finish, read our eBook below!
Growth Specialist Paul was a Principle Consultant in the tech sector before joining Firefish. He loves changing the way agencies recruit with software.