5 sure ways to screw up business prospect meeting

So you’ve been going hard for a prospective a client. Hours of time and research. Copious amounts of calls and follow ups. Several reschedules. Finally, you have them nailed down to a place and a time. You don’t want to ruin your chances with these 5 common no go zones during your conversation:

1) Don’t say ‘thank you for meeting with me’.

Are you serious? All those calls. All your time. All that research. All those reschedules. You did it because you saw the potential of the client and now you are thanking them for seeing you? You’ve immediately placed the client above you in the pecking order. As business owners and salespeople, we need to go into the meeting with our clients as equals. Someone meeting with you so that you can help them solve their problems and improve their life is not something you should be thanking them for. You are going to give the wrong impression, look slightly desperate and start the meeting off in the worst possible manner. 

2) Don’t say ‘great’ when you are speaking to a client about their problems.

So you have asked the right questions. You’ve managed to get the client to open up and talk about their problems and challenges. After each delivery you say ‘great’. ‘Great. Great. Great. Great.’…What?

When a client is telling you about negative things that you can solve for them, it’s just weird to say ‘great’. Many people use this as some sort of a confirmation of their understanding. It’s loose and lazy dialogue that is going to have an adverse effect. Apart from the obvious misuse of a negative affirmation, it can show a lack of empathy or mean that you aren’t listening, aren’t getting it, or are a predator of human suffering. It’s like saying ‘hey, I can see the profit in your pain’. No.

3) Don’t ever end a meeting with, ‘I’ll send you something next week’.

The meeting has gone well. The client seems on board and has expressed keen interest in receiving your proposal. Don’t give them an airy fairy commitment. Be specific. Specify an exact day when you are going to deliver your thoughts on paper and make sure that you stick to it. This will manage the client’s expectations and once you deliver, it shows you are organised and that you keep your word. ‘Next week’ is not a timeline. It’s an open ended, vague promise that the client can’t manage their own schedule around. Next week could mean anything. It could mean 9am on a Monday morning or 5pm on a Friday afternoon. It’s too large a gap for the client to form any sort of expectation. And delivering on Friday at 5am is really delivering the week after because not many people wan’t to look at your proposal over the weekend (and you don’t want them to!).

4) Don’t say as you’re leaving ‘I/we’d really love to do business with you and your company’.

Well durr. You are there. You are meeting with the client. You are giving up your time and expertise. You are probably paying an extortionate parking bill in the city for the privilege. Of course you would love to do business with the client’s company. You don’t need to say it. You are once again placing the client on a pedestal and handing them all of the leverage. They are probably thinking oh really, how much are you willing to discount then?. You’re offering them a valuable service. You aren’t begging for a leg up. It’s the last impression you are leaving them with and it isn’t a good one.

5) Don’t say bad things about your competitors

This is a race to the bottom. It’s distasteful. It’s petty. It’s irrelevant. Good businesses don’t need to mention their competitors at all. If they do they should be finding a light to shine on them. All businesses involve business owners that have have hopes, dreams and aspirations. Don’t get on your high horse and end up looking like a low blower!


Our language is important. How we frame ourselves and position ourselves to our clients in our meetings is ultra important. Don’t let the wrong terms, insinuations or approaches destroy your hard work. You earned the right to be there. This is your opportunity to make a difference to the client and to yourself in a mutually beneficial relationship. Back your ability to do that. Be respectful and thoughtful. Be confident in your ability. Be a professional. Be successful. Most importantly, be aware.

What have you said before that instantly killed of your chances with a prospect?


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