A business consultation generally is a meeting with a prospect before they decide to hire you on for your services on coaching, mentorship or consultancy. If you are in the service industry and have to meet clients regularly you tend to set up consultations either for recurring clients or for new clients. Most people think the way you conduct yourself in these meetings determine whether this prospects turn into revenue paying clients.
There used to be the norm back in the type writer days where you had to look smart, show up on time, and focus more on esthetics to impress a prospect. While some of the traditional tactics might still work its important to pay attention to new age methods that have an even bigger impact on your future business.
The following tips can elevate your consulting presence and leave an ever lasting impression on your future prospects.
- Most customers will tell you that they expect a brochure with marketing material about your services however today customization of templates are even more important. The subtle things like noting the date, time and venue of the meeting and the clients name on the presentation makes the client feel that you came prepared for the meeting. Give the prospect the feeling that the initial meeting is important to you.
- It is always a best practice to give an outline, visualization or chart on the overall services you offer and how it will benefit the business. The more visual it gets the easier it is for the clients to want your services. Surprise your clients and give them a free giveaway and most people focus on giving away branding marketing material however it means more if it is something that will apply to their business. A white paper that they can apply to the business will prompt them to take action.
- Interview the prospect. Most people think the consultation is for your clients to ask questions about your services. Come prepared and ask them questions that will force them to think outside the box and lead them to the big picture. Taking action requires them to consider your services quicker.
- Never negotiate on the first meeting. Most entrepreneurs focus on a sales pitch and pricing on the initial meeting and this only puts the client off. It is the age of a consumers market. Consumers have become smarter. Meetings that are focused on getting to know the client, relationship building, content and very little emphasis on costs tend to work in your favor. If you let the prospect know that they can think about it and get back to you it will show that you are not desperate for business. While there is an urgency factor and this tactic is risky it can also pay off!
- Engage the prospect and so this means you want to focus on the knowing each other. While props are good it can also be a distraction. Focus on the conversation and dialogue. Answering questions on both sides is a healthy sign of a potential business relationship.
- Stay current with the times and prepare to engage your prospects on current trends outside of your business. Remember these people are humans not robots!
These practices will most certainly leave a lasting impression if done morally and ethically. When you finish your consultation be sure to leave all the relevant contact information. Always follow up with a thank you note or email. Most of the time the prospects will be reaching out to you before you even get back to your office.