The Face to Face, “It Gets Things Done!”
You’re overjoyed you have a new lead for business, or an interview for a great job, how are you going to tackle it?
Many people get nervous with face-to-face meetings however working in the Security Industry this is something you are going to have to get over, particularly in the Close Protection Sector.
If your face-to-face meeting is with a view to gaining business or getting a new job then you mustn’t go unprepared and without a plan. If you go unprepared, stuttering and stumbling then that opportunity could be gone forever. There is an old army saying which sums this up quite nicely - “Failing to prepare means you are preparing to fail!”
There are many mediums that are great for doing business such as Skype and Facetime etc but none come close to actual face to face “in person” meetings. It is usually these face-to-face meetings where the hard work gets done, decisions get made and contracts get signed. Too many people hide behind emails and phone calls because they are too scared of meeting in person.
Don’t let the fear of meeting mess up the opportunity of landing your next high profile client. People whom have money to spend on security services would generally much rather meet face to face, this will aid in their decision making process as they quite rightfully like to meet whom they are going to do business with and to gauge the trustworthiness of whom they are going to trust the security of their client or company.
There are many reasons that Face-to Face is a preferred method of doing business and why it tends to be these meetings that tend to be the ones that get things done:
Body Language – There are many things that can’t be translated over a phone, body language is one of them a picture paints a thousand words and someone’s facial expression and body posture can tell you a lot about someone which you won’t pick up over and email or phone call.
Efficiency - Face-to-face meetings tend to be more efficient and successful as they ensure the full engagement of the participants, which you do not get whilst discussing things over the phone as it is easy for the other person not give their full attention as they cannot be seen.
Participation – In face to face meetings there is more pressure to get to the point, it encourages participation, you cannot hide behind computer screens and make the decision to “reply to that email tomorrow”, the meeting is here and now with decisions to be made.
Clarity – Phone calls, emails and video conferences can lead to misunderstanding on either side due to lack of communication, things can be clarified much easier in person.
Preparation is key before any meeting; your first contact with a potential client is most likely through email or phone call. Remember first impressions last so ensure that you write or speak clearly and concisely providing details only where necessary, these communications should set the tone for when you meet.
When meeting ensure that you ask them questions about their business or problem at hand and make sure that you understand it. Guide the conversation at the start of the meeting, you need to understand exactly what the client wants and not just be the guy that says “yes” to everything and then being unable to deliver, show a keen interest in working with them and finding a solution to their problem.
The client may be meeting you first time through a recommendation but may not know a great deal about you so ensure that you take this opportunity show yourself off. Show confidence and brief the client about the related qualifications and experience that you or your company has that would be benefit them moving forwards. “Shy kids get no sweets” and if they don’t know what you can or can’t do then you are not helping yourself.
If you have a portfolio then take it and talk to them about the work you’ve done. By showing you are confident in your own abilities and that you have the capability to do what they want achieving is paramount in gaining business, the higher profile your past clients are the more impressive you look.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, you need to be direct to gain the information that you require and give feedback if asked. You are a security professional and they are coming to you for advice, they don’t want someone who is just being cordial. Clients like direct honest feedback. They want people who can help and provide a solution to their problem.
How you look will make a huge impression on the client. You are selling yourself as a professional so you must dress like a professional, that means have a shower, comb your hair, shave, put on a dress shirt, polish shoes or whatever you have to do to look the part.
Ensure your clothing is prepped the night before as this will save time so you can use your time better prior to the meeting.
This article was written with the intention of giving advice prior to face-to-face meetings, the tips given here should help stand you in good stead and the rest is down to you, your confidence and ability to pull it off.
At the close of the meeting summarise the clients needs back to them in layman’s terms so it is easy to understand this will ensure that you understand everything that has been put across and it lets the potential client know that you have absorbed all of the information correctly.
Once all of the information is absorbed explain that you will get back to them with a quote to provide a solution for their needs, don’t beat around the bush with your rates. Be direct. Tell them what you want, you are a professional and charge a professional and fair price for the level of service that you deliver. Compete on quality not on price.
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