Present yourself like a pro

A report recently published by the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal shows that 10,000 viable Quebec businesses will close their doors over the next 10 years. Why? Because their owners don’t have a succession plan in place.

If you’re looking to contact one of these businesses to acquire it, preparation is key. For some people, making a good first impression comes easy. Others need time to reflect and plan before starting a conversation that could greatly impact their business goals and future.

In both cases, it is always best to take your time and make sure you’re ready before building new connections and embarking on the acquisition path.

Here are a few tips to help ensure you’re well prepared before reaching out. Even if you feel comfortable initiating contact with new people, you can still use these steps to perfect your technique, boost your confidence and improve your chances of success.

  1. Define

Who are you?

Before speaking of acquiring the company, you need to make an impression on the person behind it. It is essential that this person quickly gets an idea of who you are and what sets you apart in terms of your expertise and experience, so that they’re more likely to choose you and your proposal to work with.

How to prepare :

What would you like people to remember about you? Try to identify two key characteristics that define you and sum them up in one sentence.

  1. Adapt the conversation to your audience

How are you both connected?

This is probably the step that requires the most flexibility. After talking for just a few minutes, you should be able to identify at least one of the following points about the other person:

  • Their personality profile
  • Their points of interest
  • Their needs
  • Their concerns

Based on this information, you will need to quickly adjust the rest of your pitch to create a connection. Not only will this grab their attention, it will help establish a relationship of trust between you, your company and your contact.

How to prepare :

Make sure you set time aside to research the profiles of people attending upcoming events.

Think about the best ways to present your products and services, and why they would be beneficial to your target audience. You can continue the conversation by sharing success stories from the past, or by mentioning common connections who might confirm your expertise and achievements.

  1. Identify potential obstacles

What are some of the things that could throw you off your game?

How to prepare :

Do you have fidgety hands? Try practicing in front of a mirror or filming yourself.

Do you tend to speak quickly? Practice speaking while walking or running quickly.

Do you get tangled up in the details? Practice in front of a teenager and see if you can keep them engaged.

Do you tend to be more conceptual than concrete? Practice with someone who has no knowledge of the subject matter and see what they understood.

Are you less comfortable talking by phone or online than in person? Practice using these communication methods more often.

  1. Close with a bang

How can you make sure you make an impact and stay on your contact’s mind once your meeting is over?

Consider how you can end your meeting in a way that will leave a lasting impression, in connection with your field of expertise, products, and services.

Experience will teach you how to exercise your judgment so that you don’t come across as either too pushy or too forgettable. The key is learning how to make a positive impression, so that you can easily set up a second meeting in the following days.

How to prepare :

What are you comfortable saying about yourself and your business?

Are there any popular beliefs that you disagree with?

What makes you different?

How can you compliment your contact’s activities or achievements?

How can you make sure you come across as authentic from the start of your conversation?

There are no quick fixes. Only by practicing can you improve your confidence and technique. The more you do, the more you will be able to master the art of making a strong impression and selling yourself while remaining true to who you are.

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