First impressions make lasting impressions it is said. Your first meeting with a client can make or break your deal. Hence it is important to be well prepared for this meeting. Usually we spend so much time on preparing presentation and focusing on product/service, that we miss the most important element of the meeting: You and your client.
A quick research about your client will ensure that you will be more comfortable throughout the presentation, and your presentation will focus on product + client needs. You need to know a bit about the person you are meeting too. Building a rapport with the person and finding common areas of interest, lays the foundation for a strong business relationship in the days to come. So, what should you know?
- Get a little personal: Where did he study? Which cities did he live in? and so on.
- Know his career: Where has he worked earlier? What did he work on? and so on.
- Life outside office: What keeps him busy beyond work? What are his hobbies?
A lot this can be found online and easily. Social Networking sites make getting to know people so much easier today than earlier. You can look up the person on various social sites to help you plan the meeting better..
Using Social media to understand your Client:
These days social media presence is more than just connecting with close friends or family members. Social media is about sharing your thoughts in open, and give a glimpse of our life to connected people. At the same time, social media profile of any person makes it easy for us to know their likes, dislikes, interest and other vital information.
In this article, I will be taking example of Rand Fishkin who is CEO of SEOmoz and see what we can find out about him. I’m picking Rand for this case-study, and this will be same for any other person. You might have to dig-down a bit to find the social media profile of your client. So, lets see what I could find about Rand Fishkin via his social media presence:
Look up Rand Fishkin on Facebook. You may not have access to his private status messages but you still get to know his age, city he lives in, interests and thoughts from updates and anything else that he has made public.
His updates tell us about his work ethic, thoughts and approachability.
If you look up Rand’s tweets you get to know about the people he recommends, his love for travel and thoughts on tweeting and blogging among other things as you scroll down his twitter stream.
Then there’s Google + where we get to know more of what we have already found on Facebook and Twitter. We also get to know that he studied at the University of Washington.
But your research does not stop here. On LinkedIn you get to know that prior to starting SEOmoz, he was with Outlines Northwest and that he dropped out of college to start the company that would become SEOmoz. You also get a snapshot of his skillset.
On my Chrome browser I use a plugin called Pugmarks.me which gives me suggestions based on my context. While I was checking out Rand’s LinkedIn profile, here’s what Pugmarks.me showed me.
Pugmarks.me suggested articles on a recent acquisition made by SEOmoz and on startup founders sharing the user acquisition tactic. The first one tells you why Audience Wise was acquired by SEOmoz, along with a few other companies they bought in the recent past. It gives you a peek into the direction they are headed. The second one has Rand Fishkin talking about his biggest user acquisition tactic – blogging.
Since you now know that Rand is passionate about blogging, head over to his blog – http://moz.com/rand/. Rand’s blog posts tell you about his opinions and thought process. To add to this when I clicked on the Pugmarks.me icon I got to know that his favourite topics to write about are Email marketing, Social Media and Content Marketing. The fact that he writes about Social media supports the findings in the article on AudienceWise acquisition I came across earlier.
Using Pugmarks.me I read some more about blog marketing, email marketing and other topics keeping Rand Fishkin’s interests in context.
Aren’t Social Networks cool? Using Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and a plugin Pugmarks.me you now know so much more about Rand Fishkin. You are better equipped for your meeting with him. You can now talk to Rand about more than just your product or service. You can talk about travelling, blogging, work culture and much more. It makes sure Rand remembers you after you have left; after all you didn’t just make a sales pitch, you also made a personal connect at various levels and left a good impression.
What do you do to plan for the first meeting with a client? Do you research them online? Do you check out any other social networking sites or websites to read about them?
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