This is a guest post by Amanda Green.
Most Internet marketers build their businesses thinking that, because their business is conducted solely online, they will never have to talk on the phone or meet with a client or potential business partner. They think they can conduct everything via text-chat and email…which, probably, is one of the reasons that this type of business structure can look so appealing to the uninitiated.
The truth is, though, that if you really want your business to succeed and want to ensure that you have the best reputation possible there are going to be times when you have to connect on a human level with your clients and business connections. Sometimes this means working over the phone, conducting a video conference or even (as much as you might hate the idea of it) having a meeting in person. Here is how to conduct yourself so that the meetings are successful (and profitable for you in the long run).
1. Sit Up Straight
Even if someone cannot see you, they can hear the fact that you are slouching in your voice. No—really, they can. Practicing proper posture is important for a lot of reasons but in the business world it is important because it adds an extra air of confidence around you. Nobody wants to do business with the slouchy guy. The slouchy guy looks lazy. So sit up straight (if you need to, buy an ergonomic char—like the kind offered by Sitbetter—to force you into proper posture).
Like slouching, people can hear a frown in your voice. Smiling puts the person at ease and can make even a negative statement easier to take. If you aren’t smiling do your best to keep your face in a pleasant expression. Meet the person’s eyes, nod encouragingly, keep the corners of your mouth turned up. The person talking with you will appreciate your energy and be more likely to want to meet with you again. He will also be more inclined to buy from you—your enthusiasm for him makes him enthusiastic for you and what you have to offer.
3. Call to Action
Yes, even in face to face meetings, you want to have a call to action. This can be as simple as handing the person your business card and asking them to call you. In a chat or video conferenced based situation, you can ask the person to email you to follow up on the meeting (make sure you offer to do the same). You can even be so bold, if you are meeting with a client, as to ask “how many products should I put in the queue to ship to you we’re done with this call?” Coming right out and asking for a next step is how you get one. You can’t just hope the other person will take initiative.
4. Follow Up On Your Own
A quick email to say “thanks for the meeting, here’s what I took away from it” and a request for future contact within 24 hours of your meeting is just good business. This is true whether your meeting was in person, over the phone or via video chat. It shows you were paying attention and value your client or business partner’s time. Strengthening these relationships is how you make more money.
At first glance talking about client meetings might not seem like it has anything to do with actually bringing in a profit, but it does.
People are more likely to spend money on someone to whom they feel a personal connection. Meetings are how you cement those connections. They are also how you make business contacts—contacts that can help open up new markets to you and your products, which should lead to future profits!