5 Ways to Bomb with a Potential Client
The hardest part of acquiring new business is getting in the door. Successful bankers and lenders know that the more looks you get, the more deals you will close…so you need to make the most of every meeting! We all know first impressions are key and you only get one chance to make it so read on to learn about some ways you could risk wasting that initial meeting with a prospective client.
- Don’t do your homework: With some internet connected device within arm’s length nearly all the time, there is no excuse for you to be unprepared. At the very least you should be doing a Google search to learn about your prospective customer. And I would strongly recommend that you also utilize websites like LinkedIn, Manta, and countless others to be as prepared as possible going into a first meeting with a prospect.
- Bring a crowd: I’ve heard clients comment more than once that bankers seem to travel in packs. This has become more true in recent years as the largest banks, feeling the pressure cross sell, strive to pitch the entire enterprise – often times this includes bringing out product partners who specialize in areas like payroll, treasury management, merchant services, wealth management, insurance and more. The first meeting with a potential client should be focused on assessing needs, not identifying and selling to assumed needs. If there is a clear reason for a partner to be included on that initial call, then by all means bring them. Otherwise, leave the partners in the dugout on that first meeting and focus on listening and learning.
- Product dump: “Product dumping” is when you feel compelled to jump in and interrupt the client with quick sales pitches around products that you think will be a fit for them based on what they are telling you while they are telling you. This is a rookie mistake in the business of relationship banking. You feel that pressure bring in business and you want to jump on the opportunity every time your potential client expresses what sounds like a need. Avoid the urge to do this! The purpose of a first meeting with a potential client is to listen and learn. Your goal should be getting to know one another and getting a better understanding of what is most important to the client. Until you have an understanding of the clients’ needs, you should refrain from product dumping. Remember back to Sales 101…jumping ahead to the presentation/needs solving section of the sales process will do more harm than good.
- Pretend to be someone you are not: Remember that people do business with people they trust and like. Don’t take this to mean you should pretend to be someone you are not. Trust comes first and people can usually tell when someone is not being real with them. Even if you can fool them at the first meeting, you are looking to build a long term relationship here – and eventually the truth will come out. Be yourself, be genuine. Instead of pretenting to be someone you are not, focus on the things that you truly have in common with the client and work to build that personal connection.
- Don’t follow through/keep promises: If you give a timeframe to follow up at your initial meeting, make sure that you meet or exceed that timeframe. Too often, a banker will give a client an unrealistic timeframe for a response on something in hopes that this “miracle timeframe” will impress the client enough to win their business. The problem here is that if you can’t make it happen in the timeframe you provide, you damage your integrity with the client. Instead, take the extra few seconds to think through the process in your head and give a timeframe that you can realistically meet.
You worked hard to get that appointment. Have confidence in your abilities and your personality — be yourself, put your clients needs first, and you will be successful!