As a busy professional, you likely find yourself burning the candle at both ends much of the time. You know that you should do more to prepare for meeting with small business owners, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Having been a bank calling officer myself, I know how tough it can be to find an hour-plus to roll up your sleeves and do the in-depth internet research and preparation needed to have a meaningful meeting with a client or prospect. But I’d wager that almost anyone can find 5 minutes in their day.

5 steps to a better client meeting

What if you could improve the quality of your meetings with small to mid-size business (SMB) clients and prospects by 50 percent by doing just a few extra minutes of work? Seems like a no brainer, right? With just some basic preparation, you can boost your confidence and impress the business owner by having knowledge that provides you an edge. Just follow these five quick steps:

  1. Review the company website, social, blog, and LinkedIn.
    Are there two or three thoughtful questions you can ask the business owner based on information from the company website and their social media accounts? Who are the key employees and customers? When was the business founded and by whom? What is their purpose and mission? It also doesn’t hurt to ask colleagues around your office if they are familiar with the business or the owners.
  2. Do some industry research.
    To understand a company’s challenges, you need to study similar businesses and the broader industry as well. Sound too daunting? It’s not. You can do this quickly (and for free!) on the Vertical IQ website. Each of our 450+ Industry Profiles contains easy-to-understand information that will get you familiar with an industry and how companies within that niche operate.
  3. Anticipate the business owner’s biggest challenges upfront.
    See “Do some basic industry research” above. You have to do some research in order to understand what a business owner likely cares about. For example, looking at the Industry Profile for HVAC contractors, you learn that a big risk is competition from large multi-disciplinary contractors as well as HVAC equipment manufacturers that offer install and repair services. Then, perhaps most importantly, figure out how your product or solution can help fix that problem for them.
  4. Prepare 5 well-thought-out questions to ask.The whole idea of steps 1–3 is to create a list of questions that prove to the business owner that you are 1) smart, 2) prepared, and 3) care about their needs. It’s simple to compile some conversation starters once you get a feel for the challenges and opportunities within an industry. (Our Industry Profiles even provide a list of Call Prep Questions for each industry.)
  5. Get organized.
    Maybe this should go without saying, but do you have your five questions right in front of you? Do you have a notebook and pen? Have you thought about the purpose of the call and prepared yourself to answer their questions? Do you have something to leave behind with the business owner? (Printing a relevant article from the News section of the Industry Profile makes a great leave-behind.) Shall I go on?

Where quick and quality converge

These five steps should only take you around 5 minutes to complete but will make a world of difference in the quality of your client meetings. Your SMB client or prospect will not only be impressed with your knowledge of their industry, they will appreciate that you are able to offer their business solutions that are tailored to their niche’s unique challenges and goals.

>> Ready to give 5-minute call preparation a try? Visit Vertical Iq to get started for free today!