How to win mind your client in 6 steps for Business protocol
When someone hears the word protocol, it is normal for those rules of etiquette reserved for moments that are almost never given to the mind. Some dinner attended by personalities, some event or formal act … rarities. However, the protocol is – or should be – very present in some aspects of our professional life as well as in the day-to-day work of our SME, since it can help us to strengthen ties with clients, suppliers or investors.
Following the protocol keys that we offer below will not only improve the image you project towards customers, suppliers and other people that are part of the life of your company, but it can really be a differentiating fact that helps you close better contracts. Precisely for that reason, we are going to analyze the different rules that must be attended during a working meeting, either between colleagues or between a possible client or investor to which we are going to present a proposal.
1.Preparing the meeting – Research
The protocol tries to ensure that meetings and meetings are carried out in the most natural way possible, always respecting a series of basic ideas. And what better way to have a meeting as pleasant as possible with a client who knows you well. What is your career path, which social circles do you frequent, what hobbies do you have? … It is an excellent way to start an informal conversation at the beginning of the meeting and to play some of the topics of interest to our interlocutor. In addition, knowing better the person with whom we are going to interview, we avoid avoiding any mistake or presumption that leads us to misunderstandings.
2.Before the meeting – Punctuality
It may be a very obvious element but of course, it is one of the most important. It goes without saying that arriving on time is an obligation that, if not fulfilled, will make us begin with a bad footing that meeting.
Leaving the office in advance and anticipating the time it takes to get to the place where the meeting is to be held is one more part that you should keep in mind when preparing for that meeting. And yet … sometimes unforeseen events can cause us to delay. In this situation, the protocol manuals advise to warn of the delay, explain the reason and offer an estimated time of arrival. We will continue to break the rule of punctuality, but at least we will have noticed the reason for the delay along with the pertinent apologies.
3.The meeting begins – The presentation
The protocol rules indicate that the presentation in the scope of the company must be done in order of hierarchy. The person of lower rank must be presented to the person with a higher position. In the same way, the correct way to introduce someone is to indicate both your name and first name as the position you occupy within the company.
Once presented, we proceed to shake hands firmly and briefly, while we look at the face of the person we are greeting. It seems a minor detail, but this simple gesture, well done, lays the foundation of a cordial relationship and is an excellent starting point for any meeting.
4.Taking advantage of the meeting – Active listening
The main protocol manuals keep a chapter for what they call ‘the art of talking’. It is one of the points that interest us most in order to get the most out of a meeting since it is not just to say what we want and to listen to what the other party has to say but to listen actively.
That said, active listening requires five characteristics: listen to the content, listen to the intention, value the speaker’s non-verbal communication, control our non-verbal communication and listen without making judgments before the speaker has finished. Let’s go to each point:
- Listening to the content: listening means understanding what the other person is trying to tell us, not just receiving the information to analyze later.
- Listening to the intention: it means interpreting the tone of voice and the way in which we are communicating to the information. From that tone of voice, you can draw many conclusions.
- Valuing non-verbal communication: it is, perhaps, one of the most complex parts and has to do with small gestures that the interlocutor does with both the face and the rest of his body. Some will denote nervousness, other impatience, some reluctance …
- Control our non-verbal communication: we must try that our body and the expression of our face encourage our interlocutor to continue talking.
- To listen without making judgments to the end: this means that we must respect politely the turn of speech of our interlocutor and try to interrupt him, as much as possible.
5.Focus your attention – Turn off your mobile phone
The most modern books and articles of protocol and collect ideas on how to act before different electronic devices that have become omnipresent at any work meeting. Among them, the mobile phone is one of the most important and also a great source of distractions.
It is customary that when we sit in a meeting, the first thing we do is take the mobile out of the pocket and put it in front of us, perhaps right next to the notepad or the pen with which we are taking notes. It is a mistake because, sooner or later, we will divert our eyes or, worse, we will take it to consult any information. In protocol is considered a lack of respect and in these situations what is advised is, directly, turn off the phone or at least, not take it out of pocket or avoid having it in sight.
6.Closing the deal – The farewell
Although it is a stereotype, it is still true that Spaniards tend to lengthen the time of farewell, both in informal meetings with friends and in the field of work. That is why the experts recommend offering the appropriate thanks, shaking hands as necessary and say goodbye formally and politely, without lengthening that moment any longer.
So will we. We hope this article has been useful to you. Thank you.