Past experience has taught me that if my prospective client and I connect, we have a good chance to do business together. We all have experienced times when we meet someone and have positive vibes about that person within the first few minutes. Some call it ‘chemistry’, some might say it’s a ‘feeling’ we get. There is a fair amount of research that has been done to determine if we communicate our ‘intent’ non-verbally. Whatever it is, we know how we feel about the person we’re meeting and we know it in real time. When we have positive vibes I call it ‘Connecting.’
It starts with shaking hands and seeing the person. We make subconscious judgments about people we meet based on their clothing, body shape, hair, face, teeth, smell, and lots of other appearance attributes. During the first few seconds, even before we speak, we’ve made assessments about the person we’re meeting. They have made the same assessments about us.
Connection comes a step at a time. So far we have completed step one. We are moving in the right direction. If we like what we see and hear from the other person we are starting to connect. Our next step is talking to one another. We reveal another layer of information about ourselves in the next few sentences. We begin to ‘feel’ whether or not our prospective client has a positive attitude toward us.
What we say and how we say it conveys information to our prospective client about ourselves. Vice Versa is also true. You may think of the first few minutes in a conversation as small talk. I feel it’s BIG TALK. This is the time to talk with your prospective client about them. It’s more than business talk–it’s about how they feel about things…the market, the NFL, the weather, their life. This is the time to get to know them by being genuinely interested in knowing them.
At the same time you’re answering the questions; can I work with this person? Is this prospective client highly knowledgeable about business or will they need some coaching? I want to point out that your prospective client should be doing most (90%) of the talking. This meeting isn’t about you. It’s about your prospective client and what they want to accomplish. AND will you be able to help them accomplish their goals?
Make the effort to connect using these tips and you’ll not only have a successful business relationship with your client–you’ll also make a new friend.