By Andrew Sobel, Big4 Guest Blogger
How often do you jump into a car or taxi and show up at a prospect’s office ready to ask questions and pitch your solutions—but without really having prepared? Many senior executives I’ve interviewed have told me this happens all the time. And, they usually add, they aren’t impressed with someone who walks in knowing very little about their business and their issues.
You have to ask yourself a series of simple questions to help ensure you’ve prepared adequately for each and every client meeting. Here they are:
- Have you discussed the meeting agenda with your prospect, and discovered what in particular they would like to cover?
- Do you know who will attend from the client’s side?
- If more than one of you is attending from your own firm, have you agreed what your roles are going to be?
- Have you thoroughly researched the company and the individual you’re meeting with?
- Have you developed some understanding about what this client’s priorities and goals are right now?
- What are the 3-4 thought provoking questions you’d like to ask your prospect?
- What client examples have you prepared that will be relevant to this executive?
- Do you have a “point of view” to share about the prospect’s industry or the trends that are affecting their organization?
- Are you potentially trying to accomplish too much in this first meeting, perhaps in response to pressures from colleagues or your firm’s leadership? Or have you set just a few critical objectives—e.g., build trust and rapport, understand their issues, establish your credibility, and get a next step?
What specifically do you do to successfuly prepare for a meeting with a prospective client?
Andrew Sobel helps companies and individuals build their clients for life. Andrew was a Senior Vice President and Country Chief Executive for Gemini Consulting (15 years). He is the co-author of the newly-released Power Questions as well as the author of the business bestsellers Clients for Life, Making Rain, and All for One. He can be reached at www.andrewsobel.com, where you can download a free set of Power Tools to help you get better at asking Power Questions.