We attended an dual event for a programme on helping regional SME’s in Ireland to innovate, develop and grow their business
The initial meeting was with the other tutors / consultants of the course and the organisers. As such, with a initial business meeting we dressed for the occasion, formal business – Suit & Tie.
The second meeting was with the participants on course. Most of us sat at the front of the the lecture hall, looking up at our prospective clients.This was the first information evening for the programme, most were here to gain a better understanding of the programme, work involved, outcomes and supports given by all involved. The presentations, happily I did not have to present, were all about the consultants own histories, past experiences, clients assisted, money (grants/ finance) raised by clients.
Most of the audience were dressed casual, jeans, jumpers, either straight from work, from home and perhaps unemployed. Looking at their appearance, it dawned on me, that we should dress for our audience, not a suit or tie in sight was looking down at me. My thoughts began to think, what if I was in their shoes, as I have been in the past. Looking down at a bunch of suits, what inspiration does that give to me. Yes I listened to their presentation, their clients, but would that inspire me ?
When we meet our clients we need to do some research into them.
- Dress appropriately from the perspective of the person you are trying to impress
- Know a lot, but don’t flaunt it.
- Find a common business link or friend to warm up the connection.
We did not dress to match our client expectations, we bamboozled them with our stories, our language was that of consulting, not in the terms that they may be accustomed or communicate in. Those moments of first impressions has more impact that any document you can prepare. We all know about that initial 7 second rule, by which new clients judge you, but when is professionalism or formal dress sense not appropriate to your clients.