The world of startups is full of meetings and sales pitches that can change the destiny of a company. One big client signing on with a startup can be enough to keep the startup going until it can diversify its client base. Being the person a startup sends to these big meetings can be tough to negotiate.
Over-involved founders tend to want to be in on every meeting even though they will not have contact with a client on a day to day basis. The key is to do extremely well when sent out on a meeting to help become the first pick when a big meeting is scheduled.
The following are tips to dominate a business meeting to ensure quite few more client meetings/sales meetings due to a great performance in the past.
Dress The Part
A startup representative meeting with a finance firm will want to be dressed in business attire as this mirrors what those who work at the firm wear. Startups working with other startups can be much more casual and a rep can sport leggings whether they are male or female. Male leggings or meggings are a great fashion statement so for those pitching in the fashion space it is important to look knowledgeable about fashion.
Mirroring what potential or current clients are wearing is important as being underdressed in the business world reflects poorly on the company that is being represented.
Do Personal Research On The People You Are Meeting With
Knowing certain details about a person being met with can be a huge advantage. Even something as simple as knowing their college alma mater can be a great piece of information to build personal rapport. Look up the past work history on LinkedIn of the people in the meeting. This can help shape a pitch as multiple people in a data driven role might want proof of results while creative might want control of the creative aspects of their project.
The most important thing to do is to pitch to the person making the decision as well as pander to the others in the room. Appropriately bring up things instead of acting creepy, asking about a vacation the client might have posted on Facebook can make the client feel very uncomfortable.
Understand Any Business Customs If In a Foreign Place
Business customs differ throughout the world and the differences are not always as intuitive as one might think. Refusing a cup of tea can be seen as a massive insult even if it is not meant to insult a client as the person just despises tea. Do the research when traveling internationally for business as meeting times can even cause confusion.
In some cultures tardiness can be seen as an insult or reflects poorly on the party that was late. In some South American cultures a meeting time is just a general timeframe to meet at while in Germany meetings time are much more rigid.
Use Travel Time To Go Over The Pitch or Meeting Material
Travel time is the perfect opportunity to go over the pitch or meeting material that is coming up. Reading out loud might not always be an option especially on a flight but writing up index cards to help you memorize the pitch can help. This is the time to naturally put in conversation starters that have been researched about the clients being pitched.
Leaving time for questions during a pitch or meeting allows a client to think they are running the meeting when in fact it is the opposite. Many clients will not want to feel like they are being sold something but rather they are deciding to buy something so keep this in mind.
There is an art to business meetings so make sure the above tips are used in order to dominate a business trip or meetings. The person who is sent on these meetings adds to their job security due to them building a relationship with valued clients.