No matter what business you’re in, a critical part of getting new business is that all-important client interview.
That conversation you have with potential clients determining if you are a good fit for each other, showing them you have what it takes to do their work, and would welcome the opportunity to work with them.
This is done in a number of ways; over the phone, via email, or in person. It doesn’t really matter how it’s done; the most important thing is that it’s done, and done well.
Why are prospective client interviews so important? They are vital because the decision to do business with you is often made either during the interview or shortly thereafter. That’s why it is critical to master interview techniques to the point you are comfortable enough with them to put your best face forward. Keep in mind, potential clients may only know about you by what they have heard or seen online, so this is your opportunity to show them all your strengths and why you are perfect for them.
Here are a few tips for mastering the interview:
Be prepared – Before the interview you need to do your homework. Review their website to become as familiar as you can with their company, who they are, and what they do. Do more than a cursory review; spend the time necessary to see who they are, what they stand for, and most importantly how you feel you can help. Oftentimes, you can get a good idea regarding whether or not they are a good fit. Also, do some research about them on social media via their Facebook accounts, Twitter, and LinkedIn. What does it tell you about them?
By knowing more about a prospective client before your meeting, you can better determine what their needs might be, and develop a clear direction for your conversation. You can then connect the dots and can see how you can best help them. You might even see areas where you can help that they aren’t yet aware of.No matter what business you're in, a critical part of getting new business is that all-important client interview. How well are you prepared?
Show them what you’ve got – Point them to your website where they can find more information, but do more than just say—go to my website and read about me. Direct them to the exact place on your site that has the information speaking directly to them. It could be your services page, your about page, the page where you showcase your team if you have one. Point out the specific services they may need. Also, by doing your homework in the first step and being prepared, you have the opportunity to show them those extra services they might not even realize they need.
Ask Questions – Have a set of questions prepared to ask potential clients. Remember you’re interviewing them as much as they are you. You don’t want to be asking questions for the sake of asking questions; you want to use this time to understand their specific needs and how you can serve them better. Prospective clients appreciate when you ask the right questions because it shows you’re coming to the interview prepared and have done your due diligence. If you’re well prepared and organized from the very first meeting, they’ll feel you will always be forthcoming throughout the relationship.
Follow-up – Yes, the follow-up comes after the initial call or meeting, but be sure to make it clear how that will happen. For example, “I will connect with you next Tuesday again to see if you need anything else.” Now it might feel like you are being pushy, but honestly, it will have the opposite effect. This creates an action step and oftentimes will cause them to act promptly instead of putting it off so that they can be prepared for your follow-up call or email.
Additionally, your meeting gives prospects the opportunity to see your personality and the real you. Be honest and upright about who and what you are. Don’t be tempted to put on a fake persona in order to impress someone. Be professional, but be open and honest about who you really are. If a prospective client doesn’t like the real you, do you really want to work with them? I certainly don’t. I’m a “what you see is what you get” kind of gal, so that’s what I am when speaking with prospects. I can usually tell by the end of the call if I really want to work with a client, and if they would be a good fit for my team. It may sound silly, but if I can’t imagine myself comfortable enough to sit face to face with someone enjoying a cup of coffee or cold beer, I can tell they probably aren’t a good fit for me or my team. If a conversation is stiff and difficult during the courting phase, the working relationship will be as well.
So be professional, but let your personality shine through. The sense of confidence you show will have more of your potential clients saying, “Yes, I want to work with her/him; where do I sign?”
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In business since 1991, Terry Green is the founder/CEO/President of BizEase Support Solutions, an American-based, online marketing support company comprised of a team of talented professionals from around North America. BizEase excels at providing speakers and business coaches worldwide with seamless online marketing solutions, from setting up ecommerce solutions, membership sites, web design and maintenance, to writing blog posts and managing Social Media and PR campaigns. BizEase clients (who span five continents) take great joy in allowing the BizEase team to take care of the details so they can get back to doing what they do best! Click here to get our bi-weekly tips ezine delivered to your inbox every other Friday, with tips on plugins, apps, and tools to make you more productive today!