…is likely to have touched a willy. Now that’s not a very pleasant thought!

Seriously though, just think of all those new business meetings and hands you’ve shaken, and having attended 100’s of them myself, I’d like to think I’ve got them down to a fine art and know how to make a good impression.

It’s not rocket science, it just takes a little bit of practice, thought and homework. So here are some tips to help you along the way.

Having made that all important contact and agreeing to a meeting, there are a few simple steps to follow to ensure that your first meeting will leave a positive and lasting impression.

1) After confirming the meeting, send an invite as well as an agenda. Learning the hard way, I’ve turned up to no-shows as the prospect/client forgot and have sat in front of people with no idea why either of us is there.

2) 24 hours prior to the meeting, call to confirm everything is still ok, double check the address you have and never assume, as sometimes companies have more than one address, this is also a good time to re-confirm the agenda so both parties are 100% sure of expectations and who’s attending, and it’s more time to build the relationship.

3) Do your homework, know who you’re meeting and what they do. Understand what the company does and the clients they work with, having a bit of knowledge of their competitors and the sector they operate in is valuable to reassuring them you know your shit.

4) Only take people that are going to play a part in the meeting and not just sit there in silence. If they have nothing to add, you don’t need them with you.

5) Rehearse, if there are more than one of you be very clear who plays what part and when, and run through it all beforehand, no matter how informal the meeting is.

6) Be on time. This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t allow for delays. It’s better to get there early and find a nearby coffee shop than turn up 15 minutes late stressed and rushed.

7) Do your intro’s when the meeting starts, confirm the agenda again and ask if there is anything additionally the client/prospect wants to go through, ask them how much time they have, if the meeting is in for an hour never assume they have an hour, keep your eye on the clock.

8) Me, me, me. The client/prospect will want to know a little about you, but not your life story, keep it conversational asking them questions the whole way through, find out about them and their business and show a genuine interest.

9) If you have to use PowerPoint or any other kind of presentation, please watch the body language, use it only for prompts and keep them talking otherwise you’ll lose them (death by PowerPoint).

10) Once the meeting is over, confirm you’ve covered everything they were expecting, ask them if they have any other questions, ask about their decision-making process and whether there is anything else they need from you, and please thank them for their time.

11) Never be scared to ask for the business “what will it take for us to work together?”

12) If you don’t get commitment there and then, ask them how and when to follow and with whom, and bloody well do it. Once again this is something I hear time after time, clients meet partners/suppliers and they never follow up, or follow up weeks afterward.

My rule is to send an email the same day of the meeting, thanking them, if there is need to send further info then I simply say I’ll come back to you with further info. A lot of this may seem really basic and common sense, but it seriously baffles me how many people don’t do the basics, and after all, a lot of this is just manners.

It’s the simple things that make the difference so if you don’t do this now, have a go and see the difference. And remember, wash those hands before you have lunch.

Andrew