Written by Sean McPheat |
You’ve arrived on time at your prospect’s place of work and you check in with the receptionist. The pleasantries over with, you are asked to take a seat and the prospect will be with you in five minutes. You’ve prepared sufficiently for the meeting and so you sit down and wait for your prospect to appear.
What would be the best use of your time during this short wait?
Well, I’ve been kept waiting for longer than the promised time before, and it can be quite frustrating. So, what do I do?
If it’s my first visit, rather than just taking a seat and reading a magazine or newspaper, I will sometimes have a quick word with the receptionist. Do they know the person I’m going to meet? If so, ask some generic questions without it seeming like you’re prying. How busy is the department at the moment? What do they like about working here? These sort of questions can get you a lot of interesting information that you might have missed in your preparation.
Take a look around the reception area. Are there company brochures that might give you an insight into the company you’re visiting? Maybe they contain up-to-date sales figures or new accounts that the company are dealing with. Although they will be highlighting only good news, you might pick up some useful information just by flicking through them.
Get a feel for the atmosphere of the place while you’re waiting. Watch the mood of people as they pass through reception. This will give you a taste of the welcome you might receive.
If you need to, just go over your questions that you have planned to ask, and see if you can make them more personal or specific, now that you have seen the working environment for the first time.
Be aware of anything around you that could be mentioned in the first few moments of meeting your new prospect. Are there certificates on the wall? Pictures of the HQ or new buildings they have just opened? Details of their clients? Anything that will give you a pointer of how the business is doing and how professional they are.
Remember, this reception area is the image they want to portray to their customers. What does it say about them as a company?
You can pick up a lot just by using your eyes and ears while waiting that few minutes for your prospect to appear. Use them wisely and it will offer opportunities to make your opening comments more specific and relevant to their business requirements.
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Originally published: 17 November, 2010