How to Conclude the First Meeting with a Prospective Client

After the first meeting with a prospective client has taken place, we need to look at how to conclude that first meeting successfully.

At this point, anything can happen once we leave the meeting. Once we are out of the building a crisis can hit the business, their enthusiasm can wane, we can slip down the priority list, there could be any number of things.

Therefore, we have got to negate the possibility of that working against us and here is how we can do that.

In the initial meeting, we will come to a natural conclusion in the conversation.

They say, “Okay, right, thanks for coming to meet me.”

You say, “It’s a pleasure”

We stick, then we get stuck but we don’t need to. Okay?

The way in which we can conclude it is to use effective language such as….

“Well, thank you very much indeed for taking the time to meet with me today. We have raised a number of points here that I think are worth exploring further. What I need to do is to go away and have a think about the most appropriate way forward now. Can I ask if it would be possible for us to get together again in, I don’t know, in a week or so?”

They might say, “Well, maybe. Just send me your thoughts and we’ll take it from there.”

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How to Follow Up a First Meeting with a Prospective Client

I frequently get asked the question of how to successfully follow up a first meeting and in this post, I outline the techniques you can use to conclude your first meeting successfully.

Generally, when you have had the first meeting with a prospect, the most natural thing to do is to shake hands at the conclusion of the meeting and say thank you very much.

You will tell them that you will come back to them with something or you will ask them to come back to you with something.

You might say you will send something to them or ask them to send something to you or that you will review the meeting in a couple of weeks and so on.

The Scenario

So, for the purpose of this scenario we assume two things;

1) the prospect wanted to talk to you in the first place and

2) you did a great job of finding out all about them and began to establish a relationship of trust.

So, there is no reason to lose any impetus for the situation.

We have created momentum with them and allowing the meeting to drift from here is madness!

So, what should you do instead?

Well, instead of saying, “I’ll email you, I’ll call you, you call me, you email me”, let us stay in control. Many practitioners avoid this scenario because to them it feels pushy, manipulative, cajoling or even bullying. It really does not have to be this way.

Let us assume that it was a good first meeting.

The meeting lasted about an hour, maybe two hours, maybe you were offered a tour of their premises. Perhaps you have spoken about personal subjects and you found common frames of reference or common interests, whatever it may be. If they have been willing to talk to you, an accountant, for so long, bearing in mind the highest likelihood is that they already have an accountant, this demonstrates significant interest.

Generally, business owners do not have a lot of time to waste, so they will not sit and chat to you for two hours with no good reason. So, let us assume we have done a great job in getting them interested in the possibility of working with us.

By the end of the first meeting, you will have:

1. Got a date in the diary for the next meeting
2. Have identified who all the decision makers are who need to be at the meeting
3. Confirm the next steps
4. Set an agenda for the meeting ahead

In my next blog, I outline the dialogue that you need to have with the prospective client and How to Conclude the First Meeting successfully, agree the next steps and secure a date for the 2nd meeting.

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