Recently, I have been changing the focus of my job to market and sell Telaeris products. After reading various articles on the subject, I have come to the belief that for any enterprise level software or development effort, you have to have a strong advocate for your process/service. Often, these type of people have “C”‘s in front of their titles.
As I had been reading and reflecting on this, a business associate e-mailed a group of us the following snippet before a meeting. We were to meet with the owner of a business we were selling our services to. I certainly appreciated the points he made as well as the clarity and brevity of the information.
The content of the message is not mine. My only contribution is some minor editing and sharing it with you.
All future interactions with a client will be seen through the prism of the impression you leave with them from your first meeting. Here are a number of suggestions for you to be ready for a ‘C’ level (CEO, CFO, CIO, CTO, COO, etc.) meeting.
- Be on time. If you commit to an appointment time, please do all you can to fulfill it. Everyone’s time is valuable and your client has agreed to share some of their time with you.
- Understand the value of first impressions. If you are at ease, then the prospect will be as well.
- Listen. We have two ears and one mouth. My discovery is we should listen twice as much as we talk and I have taken that into meetings with me. Your customer will tell you exactly what they need if you give them a chance.
- Give short answers. Please do not feel the need to impress them with in-depth knowledge. If you are pressed for a specific answer, that is a buying signal. Give an answer that says “yes” to their inquiry.
- Do not drag on the meeting. Watch for the ‘Times Up’ signals such as looking at a watch, taking phone calls, and not asking questions.
Do not be afraid to be the first to get up to leave if the meeting is appropriately over.
My only addendum to these words of wisdom is that they apply to any customer interaction, although the payoff can be significantly higher with the decision makers.