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Call us for a chat on +44 (0)20 7836 3678 or Email Jim Piper or David Newman

7 Tips on Opening & Closing New Business Meetings

A lot of agencies we meet are often concerned about how to open up a cold new business meeting and how to close it effectively. They are most comfortable once the meeting is up and running and they can show and talk through their case studies, but find the beginning and the end problematic.

As a new business agency, our remit includes training and consultancy in relation to getting the best out of new business meetings:

  1. Make the most of the corridor walk to try and identify the kind of person you’re meeting – are they open and friendly or withdrawn and formal? Make sure you mirror them, it makes both parties feel more comfortable.
  2. Use your pre-meeting research time to find some touch points with the individual you’re meeting, there’s always common ground if you look hard enough. Use this intel to create a feeling of trust in the early stages.
  3. Again, use your research time effectively to form an opinion or observation about their market place, their competitors or issues that are endemic in their space. Share this in the early stages of the meeting, as it demonstrates that you’ve done your homework and that you’re prepared to put yourself on the line. Always qualify these opinions with the premise that your view is from an external perspective. Opening up like this will make them more likely to open up about their specific challenges.
  4. Set the scene for the meeting so that both parties know what to expect and feel more comfortable. This will include references to:
    1. The likely duration and if that’s ok
    2. You’ve got some observations to share with them but you would like to hear about their priorities and challenges
    3. You will share with them some relevant case studies once you understand their issues and not ramble on about yourself or bore them to death with a PowerPoint presentation
    4. You would like a second meeting if appropriate to show them how you would tackle their problem
    5. You have a leave behind they can share with colleagues
  5. Pre-close. As in the previous point, if you set the scene well, it will be clear that you’re looking for a follow up meeting should there be a short-term opportunity. You are stating your desire to work with them and have planted a seed for the next step. This helps you conclude the meeting far more comfortably and effectively as you are referring back to something already out there. If it’s a slower burn, then you can still close effectively by agreeing the best way to keep in touch and the reason for keeping in touch.
  6. Always summarise the meeting before agreeing the next steps. This allows you to ensure you’ve not missed or misinterpreted something they’ve said and also acts as a trigger for them to add something they may have forgotten.
  7. Offer something of value as part of the next steps. You’re in a highly competitive world, so offering something of high perceived value to a prospect will help build that relationship. It could be spending a couple of hours with the department sharing your ideas and/or views on a current topic of interest, for example. This will also help to spread your influence in that business.

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