What to say at your first customer meeting?

April 16, 2013

First customer meeting blog MeBox

Keep it casual…just not too casual.

Awesome. You’ve made the calls, developed a product and found a potential customer. Perhaps your first customer meeting is at their office or for a coffee, they want to hear how you can help them and it’s your opportunity to pitch. However…

What do you say in your first customer meeting?

It’s  really not as tough as it seems.  There could be a ton of reasons you’re not sure what to say, or do, or even what you want from it.  So here are a few tips and points to make sure you get the most from your first customer meeting.

Lets look at what your first meeting entails.  Is it a pitch, something more casual?  Do you know the person already or is it a new lead?  It doesn’t matter how you got the meeting, the most important thing to remember is WHAT DO YOU WANT OUT OF THE MEETING?

1. What do you want out of the meeting?  I cannot stress this enough.  You need to have a clear and precise idea about what it is you want from your first customer meeting.  Do you want them to sign up and buy straight away?  Do you want an opportunity to talk to the rest of their team?  This is the goal, the end result desired for the meeting, it is the entire purpose of the meeting and like all goals it needs to be measurable and achievable.

So decide what you want the outcome to be, but be realistic and make sure you can reflect on whether it was a success.  If you are selling £30 000 landscaping equipment, it’s highly unlikely that after a coffee and introductory meeting your led will sign up, however it is possible to make sure you impress them enough to get a second meeting with their purchasing team.  Make sure you can measure you goal, it needs to be set, something like ‘I want them to like me and my company and consider me for future purchases’, just won’t cut it.

So you know what you want out of the meeting, I’m assuming you already know the time and place, now you need to know your customer.

your first meeting pitch sales MeBox

Coffee? Universal drink of pitch meetings.

2.  Do your research.  Find out as much as you can about your customer, both before and during your first customer meeting.  Don’t Google and Linkedin someone and their company and then just bombard them with their own facts.  Nothing comes across as more kiss ass than someone who just spouts information that anyone could have found out.  What’s more flattering is asking questions.  A few to think about would be-

  • Why they decided to call you?
  • What’s their role within the company and how did they get there?
  • What does their company do?
  • What is it exactly that they are looking for from you?
  • How long is the project.

This is basically qualifying, it is the essence of sales.

“Sales is exploring with a prospective client, whether it makes sense for you to work together”.

That’s all it is.  Make sure it makes sense for you to work with them and vice-versa.  Be upfront and ask if they are the main decision maker for the project, do they hold the purse strings?  The relationship is not they grace you with their custom and you should feel privileged to be paid by them.  They have come to you because they feel you can help, that you have a value you can add, but make sure they add value to you.  Be strict, but flexible, work out if it makes sense to offer discounts (personally hold off on that), or how quickly they want the solution.

So you’ve got a plan, done the research….now what?  Well to end your first customer meeting you need to CLOSE.

3.  ABC Always be closing.  Please please please do not interrupt this as a hard sale.  Closing has changed from the Glengarry Glen Ross days, but it is still the most important thing for any meeting.

What is closing?  Good question.

 “Closing is getting a measurable result that you can work on.  That’s all.  It is not making the sale, it is not forcing someone to sign, it is having a next step plan that both parties know, understand and can keep to.”

You’ve got your end game in mind, so why not mention it at the beginning of the meeting?  If it is to make the sale, to actually sell someone a product like a car or a piece of software there is no harm in saying so.  Perhaps-

  • ‘I’m really glad you wanted to meet with me, I hope that by the end you’ll have a better idea of why choosing this solution is right for you’.
  • ‘I thought this meeting would be useful for me to learn a bit more about you and your company, and hopefully you’ll be impressed enough to buy from us!’
  • ‘I really want our first meeting to be a chance for us to see how we could work together, perhaps at the end we could set a date for me to pitch to your company’.

These are just ideas, make sure you learn to read the room.  In other words respond appropriately, despite what people think, most people like to be sold to.  They have asked you to potentially solve a problem that they’re having and it’s your job to come across as professional enough to do it.

If you have mentioned you end goal at the beginning of your meeting, you can refer back to your first point. ‘So, I mentioned that I really want to see if it makes sense for us to work together, I have a good idea of what you’re looking for and I think I can provide the solution you’re looking for.  Perhaps I can draw up a proposal by the end of this week and email it over to you?’

See, that wasn’t that hard.  It has a measurable outcome and doesn’t sound pushy.  The key is to have a call to action, or, a next step.  What was the point of the meeting and do both parties know what is going to happen next?

Not every meeting will end in a sale.  Not every meeting is going to go perfectly.  But with practice and a bit of research, your first meeting will become a cake walk.

In conclusion, make sure you know why you want to meet, research your customer and don’t be afraid to ask for a next step.

There is tons of material out there to learn on talking to customers, take a look at some of the links below.

Questions to ask your customers.

How to keep calm before a speech or pitch. (Clue, research and don’t worry if it goes wrong)

Posted in


Share this!