Breaking the ice with new customers is based on the initial meeting or point of contact. With that, it is important to have an understanding of the prospect’s purpose and goals. Preparation and planning for that initial meeting is imperative.
Although we use the word ‘meet’ to describe our first contact with new clients and others, what really matters is whether we connect with them. Whether you ultimately want to focus on selling office furniture, IT equipment, or marketing services to the customer, you have to first make a connection.
Every process is easier if you have a strategy.
The best way to ensure that will happen is to have a strategy. Strategies for breaking the ice with new customers should include careful prep work, and the meeting must include interacting with the individuals.
Strategies do not come with 100% guarantees; however, almost everyone agrees that talking with clients and customers is a great way to initiate a connection. It’s what to say and how to say it that seems to cause concerns.
As mentioned, breaking the ice is not just meeting and greeting a customer; the goal is to make a true connection. In order to do that, it is important to initiate a conversation. Ideally that conversation will start on a positive note.
Real conversations are built on the exchange of ideas. This means each person gives and shares thoughts. As the conversation takes place, other things should also be happening. For instance, this is the time to work at finding a way to link the person with his or her name and personality and ideas.
Preparation for the Connection
Learning all you can about the person or business before the meeting makes it easier to know how to break the ice. Besides providing basic information that will be helpful, the knowledge learned can help you feel more confident and comfortable about the meeting.
It’s also a good idea to learn something about what is happening in the niche or industry that might impact the individual or business. In today’s world, it is usually a simple process to find information about industries, people, and businesses online.
Arming yourself with this information makes starting conversations a simple process. In addition, it makes it easier to align yourself with the potential customers’ perspectives.
Body Language Speaks
Your body language may say more than your words do. This means it is important to give consideration to the way you dress and present yourself. Plus, the tone of your voice and the way you say things does matter.
Customers are people, and they want to connect with individuals they feel comfortable with. Most people feel comfortable with someone who displays confidence and authenticity.
Do you present yourself with confidence and poise?
Sometimes it’s the simple things that get overlooked. That is, we forget to smile and make eye contact or to offer a firm handshake. Once again, preparation counts. Good posture along with appropriate attire is a great start in the preparation for a meeting with a new or potential customer.
Align with the Potential Client
After preparing for the meeting, you will have some information about what matters most to the potential customer. But keep in mind that establishing a real rapport will make the meeting go more smoothly.
Take the time to ease into the conversation. As the discussion unfolds, it is your job to actively listen to what the potential client is saying. Listen for the deeper messages. This allows you the opportunity to provide insights about how your company or products can help the client meet his or her needs.
Listen closely for the deeper message behind the words spoken.
Although you have lots to say about your business or product, it is very important that you listen closely to what the client has to say. Much can be learned about a client’s needs, goals, and desires through the information he/she shares.
After all, most meetings are restricted to a tight time frame. With that in mind, whatever the client spends time talking about ranks high on his/her priority list.
When your focus is on breaking the ice with new clients, your real goal should be on ways you can help the potential customers. Approaching the task in this manner takes the mystery out of the process and suddenly potential customers become people that have needs.
Planning and preparing for the meeting will help ensure there will be a true connection. If you are sincere in your efforts to help and you respectfully listen to the client’s ideas and perspectives, most ice-breaking meetings will turn into much more.
About the author:
Debbie Allen is a freelance writer and online marketer who often writes about business topics such as online reputation and selling office furniture.
Image “Business Strategy” courtesy of ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image “Confident Young Businessman Posing Casually” courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image “Thoughtful Business Person” courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net