Smile, you’ve landed your first client meeting. But when you start thinking about it, it’s a scary time. Scary if you’ve not had great experiences with job interviews or any other interviews. By the time you’ve finished reading this blog, you’ll know how to smash your first client meeting with confidence. Inside this blog post you’ll learn
- Purpose of a client meeting
- Starting the meeting
- Building rapport
- Questions to ask
Client meetings are scary to do, especially when you’re new to freelancing and getting clients. After all, you need to get clients or you don’t really have a business.
When you do your first client meeting you may not know what to expect so you either go into over-preparing with the wrong stuff. Or you go into the interview not preparing at all. But when you go into the interview prepared you’ll be able to confidently close the sale and start a long relationship with the client.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are ‘affiliate links’. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.
Purpose of a client meeting
Purpose of having a client meeting is not always about closing the sale, but it can be about building trust and rapport. Or a client meeting could be about creating a plan to work together, setting goals, and milestones. This may happen as you’ve already built up a conversation online already about what the clients wants from you. The meeting just then becomes more about the process and how it’s going to work in reality.
These meetings can be done on a Zoom or Skype call. Or if you live locally to where the client is located and convenient to both parties, you can meet in person.
Prepping for your first client meeting is not just about re-checking the time and location of the meeting. Preparing is also about making sure your research about the client is on point.
To prepare for the meeting with your prospective client, Google them first and look at their website. You really need to put on your investigative hat. Look at their website, news from the company, and industry news. Then work out with the information you’ve got from previous conversations with the client how you’ll fit in.
Arming yourself with the knowledge about the company and industry news will go a long way to impress them. Then showing the client how you’ll fit in with their organization. Painting a picture for the client as to how you’ll help them in their business.
Starting the meeting
When you go into the meeting, you need to go in with confidence but never go in first with your pitch. This is for the client the first time they’ve met you in person, so go in gently but confidently.
Go in gently with some small talk. A great topic to start with is any news that have made headlines and affects their business directly. For example, if you’re going to a company that has created a social media scheduling app and one of the platforms went down. You could ask if that has made any impact on them.
Another safe topic to bring up is a networking event or people that you both know. This is a very safe option and brings forward the idea that the client can trust you and you’re not a complete stranger.
Never go into the line of controversial topics and politics. Always have a list of safe topics that you could use as a starting place. Now that you’ve started to generally relax and started to build rapport, you want to carry this on and build it some more.
The term building rapport is banded around quite a lot, especially by those in the coaching industry. But do you understand what building rapport is and how you can use it?
What is building rapport?
When you’re in a networking situation in any setting. Either in business or personal life, building rapport is about going beyond the surface level that most people stay at. Staying at surface level by having conversations where you have a bit of small talk but you never really share anything that’s meaningful.
Why build rapport with clients?
Meaningful conversations in getting the chance to understand the client’s needs and desires. When you understand the client’s true desires and problems, then you can start to position your offer to meet that desired result. Ultimately, people buy from people. So if you have a conversation that builds rapport and digs beneath the surface level, then the client will start to trust you.
When you don’t build rapport the client doesn’t build that trust in you and not see you as someone that they want to work with.
How to build rapport with clients
To build rapport the real trick is to ask open questions and then listen. Just let the other person speak and as you observe you’ll notice things.
When you’re not interrupting clients as they talk and you give them the space to speak. You’ll really notice the little things in their body language and eye contact. When clients smile (or express dis joy) when they talk about something. You can only notice that when you’re really listening.
Just giving client space. asking them an open question, and let them answer the question. This is effective to build rapport with clients and gain that trust needed to close the sale.
Questions to ask
Having a checklist of questions to ask in an interview helps you to make the interview a more efficient use of your time. Go the extra step in preparing for an interview by having a checklist of questions to ask in an interview. Here are 4 examples of questions to ask in an interview that will win you clients time and time again.
Asking questions about the clients business shows that you are keen and interested in their business. By asking questions about their customers (what the client cares about) and brand message is always a winner.
Plus you can use your answer to this question to say that you can help them. Help them deliver what the client needs to increase brand awareness or customer satisfaction.
This answer could go in 3 ways
- They’ve never worked with a freelancer before
- They had a great experience working with freelancers before
- They never had a great experience before
Hopefully, you will never get the third answer.
If you do get the third or even second answer, ask them what they felt went wrong or right and what they would want to be different next time they work with a freelancer.
Listen to their answers and position yourself as the dream freelancer to be working with.
How often should I send project updates?
Impress your clients by updating them in regular intervals as to the progress of the project you are working on. Clients are trying to trust you to get on with the task they have set you, but they need reassurance. Effectively communicate with clients as to how you are getting on with the project.
Do you have anything further to ask?
This final question is a powerful question and the last question to ask in
In A Nutshell
An interview is not just there for the potential client to see if you are the right fit for them, but it is also there for you too. There for you to understand the clients mindset with
- How they feel about hiring a freelancer
- What expectations they have from a freelancer
But most importantly, interviews are there so you can build rapport and trust. Make a great first impression on your interview with a potential client and arm yourself with the questions to ask in an interview.