Up to this point, the interactions between you and your prospect Ted have been, in the main, non-verbal. But that doesn’t stop either of you from forming initial impressions of the other. Later, as you talk and interact, your brain will kick in and may override your initial take on the prospect and determine that no, Ted isn’t one of THOSE kind of red heads, so it’s OK.
Now, back to the actual process … Walking to the place where you will have your meeting may or may not include some conversation. Just keep it neutral and light. Don’t toss out any opinions or rash statements.
When you arrive at the room where you will conduct the meeting, the first decision is where to sit. You never want to convey, however unintentionally, your desire to encroach upon your prospect’s domain or authority. If Ted gestures or says something, indicating a chair or side of the table, then simply follow his directions.
If there is no indication, then avoid selecting the “power seat(s)” at the table. Why? Because, if you are in the prospect’s place of business you want to defer to them. The dynamic is they are the host and you are the guest. If you do select a “power” chair the prospect may react very negatively at a gut level … perceiving your choice as the initiation of a contest or power struggle. Obviously, this is not what you are seeking to accomplish. Your goal is instead to create an environment where you have the opportunity to cultivate a potential sale.
What chairs should you avoid? These will generally be at either head of the table or nearest the door. Instead, select a seat that is, a) on the table’s long side and, b) is located on a side that is not closest to the door. These are not viewed as power locations and therefore should be safe.