As the pandemic is winding down, people’s minds are turning once again to business. If you’re having a client or a business partner coming to visit you soon, you will likely want to impress them, show them a good time, and generally leave a good impression that will help you in your business negotiations.
Business meetings are a great dance of etiquette and strategy that has been practiced in the US for as long as there was a country. As times changed, some customs have changed and adapted for the modern age, but knowing them is an absolute must if you want to excel in the business world.
Here are some smooth guidelines from Stay Classy on how to leave a good impression on a client or a partner.
Rent a Limo or a Towncar
Your opportunity to impress your business associate starts as soon as you meet them. If they are flying in, meet them at the airport – the personal touch will certainly gain you some goodwill. The client will certainly expect some kind of transportation from the airport, but meeting them in person signals that you are serious about the deal and fully invested.
When you meet them, renting a limo or a town car to drive you from the airport and around the town will show them that you’re not opposed to spending some money if it can lead to earning more further down the line. Besides, the luxury of being driven around the town by a chauffeur is certain to soften them up before the meeting.
Dress to Impress
If there’s one thing that people always tell you about business, it’s that how you present yourself is how you will be perceived – and it’s true. We make first impressions about a person in mere seconds, and those impressions color our every interaction with them going forward.
That means that your clothes, your handshake (if you’re both Covid-free), and your first words will be paramount to how the business dealings go on.
Business casual is very often the norm in these situations, but it’s always better to be overdressed than the other way around. Keep the accessories to a minimum – a watch and sunglasses is more than enough, and don’t wear too strong of a scent as it is considered gaudy and unprofessional.
Cater to Their Interests
Even before the business part of the meeting starts, you can go on the offensive. If you have the whole day with the client, instead of just the meeting itself, there’s a lot you can do to bring them over to your side. You can learn about their interests and affinities beforehand, and plan the day accordingly.
A client who is relaxed and enjoying themselves will be much more amenable to your ideas and proposals once the meeting actually starts.
Be Honest with Them
Let them know what you expect of the meeting right off the bat. In the day and age when everything is convoluted and wrapped up in corporate-speak, a simple and honest discussion will sound like a breath of fresh air.
That is not to say, of course, that you should be crude and simplistic – eloquence goes a long way. Instead, be straightforward and direct when describing what you want from them and what you have to offer.
Just as you’ve prepared for the meeting beforehand, your client must have as well. They researched you and your company and know the broad strokes of what to expect from the meeting. By being honest, you will build trust, and trust is the foundation of every good relationship, not just in business.
Have All of Your Talking Points on Point
Do you know what one thing business people hate is? Wasting time. In the world of business time is money and if you want to get ahead in this world, you will need to learn to manage your time. If you’re having a business partner or a potential client come in for a meeting, what you need to do is plan ahead.
Have all of the facts about the project you’ll be discussing close at hand. Ideally, you would know all the information by heart, but at times that is not practical. Instead, have all of the relevant information ready on a device or paper.
With modern technology, fast internet, and cloud storage, you should be able to access all of your data wherever you are at any time. Your partners will certainly appreciate your ability and initiative to have everything ready.
Know About Your Field and Competitors
Speaking of being in the know, having all of the information about your company and the project you want to start is often not going to be enough. No business exists in a vacuum, and yours will have to contend with a lot of competitors.
No matter if you’re just a startup looking to get off the ground, or a well-established company looking to expand its portfolio, any new business venture will involve your competition. Show your client or partner that you’re aware of this situation and how you expect to position yourself in the industry at large.
Have a Recap and Share It with the Client
Keeping notes during the meeting is a great way to signal that you’re paying attention and that you’re committed to the end result of it. At the end of the meeting, you can ask the client to go through the main points just to ensure that you’re all taking away the same points from the meeting.
This move will enable you to steer the conversation towards your goals and drive home the points you’ve been trying to make throughout the meeting. It will also paint you in a more positive light.
Dealing with clients and business partners can be a very delicate process and learning how to do it right can take some time. However, if your plans and ideas are solid, chances are that you will be able to get your dreams off the ground.