New entrepreneurs are generally thrown into the competitive mix and forced to put their business through a sink-or-swim process. Most entrepreneurs start their organization because they have developed a marketable skill, but that skill does not generally include management. Here are some sure-fire ways to get through the gauntlet and get your first or seventy-first client.
1. Hold your first meeting at lunch.
First impressions matter, and you are likely to generate favorable ones when sharing a meal. Holding the first meeting at lunch also provides an efficient vetting process — if the prospect does not want to have lunch with you, there may be many applicants for the position, and your chances are greatly reduced.
2. Follow a structured process.
Taking the prospect step-by-step through a structured process provides a familiar path for you and your potential client. Do not try to win the account after your initial meeting, but ask if it’s okay to send a proposal with more details. The prospect will certainly agree to this free step unless you have really failed the lunch test. Only after you have provided a thorough proposal, including your qualifications, of course, should you ask for the account.
3. Prepare a press kit.
After the lunch meeting ends, give the prospect your press kit. The kit should include articles you have published in your field, samples of your portfolio and a tri-fold brochure about your company. Do not give it to the prospect until after the dishes have been cleared away as it will otherwise serve as a distraction to your meeting. The kit should be compiled in a glossy folder with your company logo on the front.