Remember the days of interviewing for that first big job and all the extra research you did on the company you were meeting with? There were reasons you went to all that extra trouble, but do you remember why? I’m sure that we could all agree that there were several reasons, so let’s list a few:
- To ask more quality questions of the interviewer.
- To be better prepared.
- To show the interviewer your level of interest in the job.
- To be well versed on the company’s history and products.
- To give us that competitive advantage over other applicants.
When meeting with a prospective client or even referral partner, shouldn’t we consider using that same level of engagement when we initially meet them? What message would it send to that other person about your level of professionalism and thoroughness?
LinkedIn is a great tool to help you prepare for these types of meetings. Under each person’s picture on LinkedIn you will find a blue button that says “Send a message.” By clicking on this, a list of options will appear. Selecting “Export to PDF” will download that person’s profile, which is a document containing that person’s professional history. With a little review you will be well versed on interests you share, the diversity of their background, common people you both might know, plus other opportunities you never considered.
So, the next time you are scheduling that meeting with a prospective client or a 1 to 1 with a possible referral partner, remember to put that best foot forward and invest in a little research.
Keep it targeted.