I had my first face-to-face meeting with a potential client this past Saturday. I had a week to prepare and was confident that the two and a half years I spent as a top-level salesman had prepared me for the meeting.
I was wrong.
Here's where I went wrong.
1). Poor Location For The Meeting
I made a near-fatal mistake in the art of selling; I assumed. I believed that the local library, which is almost always relatively vacant and quiet, would be an ideal setting for our meeting. When I got there, it was more crowded than I had ever seen it. As well as it should've been; it was a weekend! Sure enough, the first thing my client asked when we met up was if we could find a private room in which to conduct business. They were all booked, and with a little foresight on my part, I could've reserved the room myself when the meeting was set. We wound up holding the meeting in my vehicle.
Lessons learned: Never assume anything. Plan ahead.
2). No Prep Work Done
As my potential client and I began speaking, it quickly become clear to me that I knew very little about the source material they were working from. I had to think of my questions on the fly (luckily, I'm not so bad at that) and often ask things more than once just to be clear. My client didn't seem to mind but I felt awkward and unprofessional.
Lessons learned: Research the client and head into the meeting with questions written down.
Blessedly, I was able to secure the job and we parted on good terms. I know I should be grateful that I got the job despite my mistakes, and believe me, I am, but there was much to be learned from the experience and I hope to not repeat these errors the next time I have to sit down with a potential client.
Because there will most certainly be a next time.