Your first meeting with a new client is critical. It sets the tone for the entire engagement.
On the one hand, they’re excited. On the other hand, they’re trepidatious.
They just committed to you. Buyer’s remorse is trying hard to reveal itself beneath the surface.
But you won’t let that feeling take over. You’ll start things off right and show them they’re in good hands.
1. Have an onboarding process
When people see you have an onboarding process, they begin to relax a little.
You’ve done this before. They’re not a test subject.
Things are under control.
2. Outline how you work in detail
Part of your onboarding process will be to explain how the engagement will work.
It will highlight the areas you’ll cover, when you plan to cover them, and how everything works.
Your client can relax a little more. You’re a professional. You have a process.
This is important.
3. Make the first meeting fun
You want people to enjoy the process of working together.
While you have serious work to do, you can also be relaxed, make jokes, and have a little fun.
After all, you have to be good to have fun while you work on serious things.
Having fun is a signal of competence.
4. Ask lots of questions/review the questionnaire together
You can’t ask too many good questions.
As Robby Fowler said in this week’s member training on personal branding, “Nobody ever got mad because you cared too much about their problems.”
You want to be thorough, ask clarifying questions, and above all else, make sure people feel heard.
If you have a questionnaire and they’ve completed it, review it together in detail.
The more thoroughly you understand the client’s situation, the more relaxed they’ll be.
5. Set expectations
Throughout the sales process, you’ll want to be setting expectations.
Now that the engagement is kicking off, you’ll really want to re-establish and align around your mutual expectations.
Things like what kind of results to expect, common challenges to be aware of, mutual responsibilities, and what to do if something isn’t working.
Make sure you’re on the same page about everything and your clients will trust you more.
If you don’t have a formal kick-off process, I highly recommend you get one.
The Advisor Operating System has kick-off templates, questionnaire templates, process documents, and so much more. If you’re a marketing consultant, you’ll want these.
When you have a process, everyone can feel relaxed and at ease. When you don’t, you’re only setting up your engagement for stress and micromanagement from the client.
And if you remember nothing else, remember this: make people feel heard and understood.