Step Up! 14 Tips to Interact With Potential Clients
Events are excellent times to interact with many potential clients, and you can go to dozens of events every year. However, it’s essential that you take advantage of these business opportunities in a way that attracts your clients and doesn’t scare them away. This is why we’ve put together an exclusive list of tips that will help you when interacting with potential customers at all of your events.
14 Tips for Interacting with Potential Customers
These are our tips for your potential customers and growing your business opportunities. You can do one, or you can do them all to help increase your chances of success throughout the entire event.
Tip 1: Stay in a Relationship Building Mindset
- Go into every event you attend with the mindset to build relationships with your potential customers. Your main focus is starting to build a healthy relationship from the start instead of focusing on tactical deliverables. This mindset can make you seem more open and approachable to any potential clients you run into during the event.
Tip 2: Take Time to Research Prior to the Event
- What types of clients will be at this event? What are their goals and do they align with your businesses? It pays to take a little time and research the event before you go to it. This research allows you to be able to align your approach with what your potential customers come to the event to find. You have a greater chance of converting people.
Tip 3: Two Ears/ One Mouth
- Think about it. If a person approached you, interrupted your conversation, handed you a business card, talked about themselves and left, would you take it? The answer is probably not, and this is one way to turn your potential customers away. Take a few minutes and talk to people when you approach them, and be ready to listen and act interested. They’re more likely to remember you, and it helps to create a positive relationship. Do not simply talk about yourself, you have more ears than mouths so listen more than you talk.
Tip 4: Engage and Be Specific
- It’s critical that you are very specific about what you do and what you offer. It’s even better if you can tell your customers how you can help them with your products or services. This doesn’t have to be a drawn-out process. Instead, it can be a few-minutes of conversation that is concise and to the point. This is often referred to as your elevator pitch.
Tip 5: Prepare Conversation Starters
- Few things are more awkward than approaching someone and watching the conversation die after the introductions. In addition to helping you avoid this disastrous pause and reducing your anxiety levels, they can also help you come off as confident and charismatic to any potential customers you approach. Generally, people like to give their input and have an opinion, and you can build a conversation off of this.
Tip 6: Maintain the 80/20 Rule
- You never, ever want to dominate the conversation when you’re networking or interacting with potential clients. A rule you should try and follow is the 80/20 rule. This rule means that you listen to what people say 80% of the time, share your own opinion 10% of the time and ask questions for the other 10%. People are generally interested in hearing what they have to say, and then they’re more receptive to what you have to say.
Tip 7: Be Authentic and Honest
- The best thing you can do is speak openly, honestly, and authentically about your work. Be truthful about what you can offer and your limitations because your potential clients will find out very quickly if you overpromise and under deliver. It can cause them to question everything you’ve told them so far, and this is how relationships deteriorate. If anything, scale what you can do back slightly.
Tip 8: Put Your Phone Away
- Yes, your phone is an excellent distraction to take you away from uncomfortable situations. However, they’re also an easy way to project that you’re disengaged and not interested in what’s going on right around you. Keep your phone in your pocket if you have to have it on you. Ideally, you want to leave it in your car or hotel, so you’re not tempted to pull it out during the event.
Tip 9: Avoid Being Too Casual with Your Language
- Language is starting to change and get far more casual, and this is bleeding over into the business sector. Even if this is true, you want to err on the side of caution. Don’t use language that someone may find offensive or vulgar. Keep your four-letter words amongst friends or people who you know well enough to know they won’t get offended.
Tip 10: Business Cards Last
- Handing someone your business card should come at the end of a conversation, and not the beginning. You want to have a meaningful conversation and spark a working relationship before you hand out your business card. Leading with your business card can come off as impersonal, and this can turn your potential clients off. Networking is about so much more than collecting business cards, and you want to keep this in mind.
Tip 11: Practice Your Listening Skills
- You want to lean toward your client, make eye contact and show them that you’re paying attention. Repeat back something they have said to you, this reassures them that you have heard what they are saying. Remember their name and use it, use open body language, no crossed arms.
Tip 12: Yes Is Not Always The Answer
- If you say yes to everything your potential client asks, it’s a fast way to overcommit yourself. You could quickly find yourself unable to meet your deadlines or commitments, and it can cause your client to question your ability. Learn your boundaries and learn how to address requests you don’t have time for.
Tip 13: Be Humble
- You may be an expert in your field, but you don’t want to sound boorish or condescending to the people you interact with. This goes hand in hand with being a good listener. Never assume that you know the problems your clients have and go from there. Instead, work to foster conversation.
Tip 14: Remember Your Manners
- Yes, networking is all about making new connections. But, you don’t want to break into conversations by interrupting whoever happens to talk when you walk up. This is incredibly rude, and you may see people walking away. Instead, wait for natural breaks in the conversation and introduce yourself.
Interacting with potential clients can be very stressful, but these 14 tips for client interaction can help ensure that you hit all the right notes. You’ll start to see more connections that carry over into your daily business dealings, and you’ll start to form connections that strengthen your business network and help retain clients.