How to Crush a Business Meeting

To be a Recruiter for Marketing for the UAE and Europe you have to like people. Not only do I constantly have my phone glued to my ear, but much of my time is spent on business lunches and coffee catchups. 

Despite 'getting to know' your clients and candidates seeming like Recruiter 101, many recruitment companies do not bother to take the simple step of a face-to-face meeting before working a job. How on earth are you meant to know what the rest of the team's personality is like and the skill set they require? How the heck are you able to close deals?!

business meeting - briar Prestidge - deals in high heels - black and white office fashion

I met with Marketing Manager, Deveekaa, last week to discuss future hiring requirements. For today's office look, I'm wearing a chic dress by With Love Jessica, tailored blazer from Guess by Marcino, Faith black heels, Ted Baker handbag and Versace sunglasses (look linked below.)

For hiring managers, paying a recruitment fee can be the same price as buying a small car, and it can be both timely and costly to get it wrong...

how to conduct a business meeting - briar prestidge - deals in high heels

Time is money, so to guarantee you get the most out of your meeting, here are my top tips:

Arrive Prepared

Do your research! Check their company website- know what they do, who are their clients are and their annual turnover. Have they appeared in any news recently?

Look at the company's LinkedIn to get an understanding of their size and background of their employees- what other companies and industries did they work in prior?

Dress professionally yet similar to them 

Dress professionally, appropriately and in a way that mirrors your client (see my Lookbook section here). I like to wear dresses, heels and I will decide whether the meeting requires a blazer also.

how to conduct a business meeting - briar Prestidge - deals in high heels

Introduce Yourself and Build rapport

Have a firm handshake and look your client in the eye.
"Nice to meet you Deveekaa, how is your day going?" 
Spend time having a brief conversation and work on creating common ground - see my previous post on rapport building here.

how to run a business meeting - briar prestidge - deals in high heels

Establish the meeting objectives and agenda

Why was the meeting arranged, and what do you hope to achieve from it? There are many reasons for holding a meeting:

  • To disseminate new information and see if there is potential for future business,
  • To coordinate and discuss a specific requirement,
  • Review and receive feedback about your current business plan,
  • Reconcile a conflict,
  • Negotiate an agreement,
  • To initiate creative thinking,
  • Provide consultative advice on a current issue.

For instance, "Thanks for meeting with me. Firstly, I would love to get an insight into your company before we talk about your recruitment process and frustrations you've previously experienced. Then, I'll tell you a bit about my company!"

business meeting tips - briar prestidge - deals in high heels

Listen, ask questions and take notes

You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Apply the 80/20 rule: You should use questioning techniques so that your client is doing 80 percent of the talking and you are doing only 20 percent.

People will rarely give you information unless you ask for it; know what questions you will ask in order to elicit answers clarifying their pain points (such as prior frustrations with recruitment, current team, workload etc) so you know exactly how to sell in your solution.

Don't ask questions like you are a robot- acknowledge their answers, and create conversation along the way.

Use stories and examples

Just like when you used to write school essays, use plenty of examples to reinforce what you are saying. For example, previous clients you worked with, problems you solved and people you helped. "Oh my client at MBC had a similar situation when she was recruiting for a SEO specialist..."

business meeting tips - briar prestidge - deals in high heels

Negotiate

In person is the perfect time to negotiate any issues around your terms of business or rate as you can read the other person's body language. 

Sell in your company

As you've spent the time finding out their struggles and areas of need, you are now in the perfect position to sell in your company in the most relevant light. For example, many of my clients experience difficulty finding candidates that are the right personality fit, so I describe my process of meeting 10 candidates for each position, and shortlisting the three most suited.

how to conduct a business meeting - briar prestidge - deals in high heels

Manage their expectations 

Explain exactly how you work and identify key areas where they may need some flexibility - remember, YOU are the consultant and YOU understand your market. Manage their expectations so they know exactly what to expect. 

Make Future plans

How regularly will you keep in touch moving forward? If I have a job that I'm going to start working with them, we create a timeline for the process to ensure we are both on the same page, otherwise, we decide how often we will catch up for a phone call or coffee.

Handshake, goodbye & thank you email

Follow up with an email when you are back in the office thanking them for their time. 

Hope you enjoyed this weeks post! Special thanks to Deveekaa and Le Meridien Hotel for providing a beautiful venue for a business lunch. With 14 incredible restaurants and a conference centre, they're a perfect venue for client meetings! A Vlog is to follow so stay tuned!

Readers - what are your tips for executing a successful business meeting?

If you liked this, be sure to check out my post on how to make a cold call or why I have a side hustle in my career section.

Until next time, 

Briar Prestidge xx

*This post contains affiliate links which mean I may receive a commission if you choose to buy something. As usual, I only post things I love!

Get the look

FURTher reading 

http://www.dummies.com/careers/project-management/conducting-effective-business-meetings/

http://www.americanbar.org/groups/young_lawyers/publications/the_101_201_practice_series/ten_tips_to_a_successful_first_client_meeting.html

https://skillcrush.com/2015/01/20/client-first-impression/

MOOD