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So you think you’re talking to a client about your business, then the meeting takes a U-turn…

Imagine my surprise when on arrival at a prospective client’s offices, I was ushered into their boardroom, presented with a beautifully bound sales proposal and taken through a detailed slideshow about the company’s full suite of services. Their presentation to me was 10x more impressive than our pitch to them, and yet we were the ones supposedly doing the pitch.

This one really left an impression, and believe me, I’ve been to 100s of briefings with clients over the years. Our meeting had started with the usual introductions, quickly progressing to an in-depth discussion about the client’s business, who they market to, the awards they have won and even the cost to use their services. The discussion continued for about one hour.

It was impressive to see how well our potential client marketed her business, which made me think a client meeting should be like this more often, rather than the usual informal meet and greet.

Let’s really get to know one another and define the key aspects of our business relationship. That’s what I think these meetings should be about!

I honestly enjoyed the fact that the client gave me a lot of background information to work with, allowing me further opportunity to uncover what drives her business, its people, how it has become successful, and what its core values mean in practice.

At the end of the meeting I was sold on the marketing company. My job as a recruiter would be so much easier if every client presented its employee value proposition with such passion. I’ve turned that experience around to take a closer look at the way I present to clients. Listening is one of the most valuable skills that I’ve developed as a consultant because, as I’ve discovered, my clients are really presenting to me.

Have you ever had an unusual first meeting with a client or a supplier? What did you learn from the experience?

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Posted in Professional Support, The world @work