How To Plan For A Meeting With A New Client


Whether you have just landed your first or hundredth client, it is still quite exciting. While you might be a whizz at the written word, you also need to be a master of meetings if you are going to secure their business.

Initial client meetings are a great place to set your expectations while understanding more about theirs. First impressions are super important, so if you are a little nervous about planning a meeting with a new client, do not worry – we are sharing a few tips and advice to help you crush it.

Before the day

Research your client

While you might never have worked with your client, you can understand a lot about the way they work by researching their relationships with others. Check out their social media pages to see what types of audiences you will be writing for, and to gauge a little more about the brand voice. Getting this research in now, will save you time in the long run and will show the client you are intuitive and knowledgeable.

Press articles may also offer a glimpse into the professional side of the business, rather than how they interact with their customers. It is also worth doing wider reading into their industry, so you know what is currently going on and find new trends and potential competitors.

Research will also help you feel a little more prepared for the meeting – meaning you are less likely to feel as much anxiety when you arrive at the meeting.

Be prepared with the answers

A client meeting is the chance for you to ask questions, but also to answer theirs. The best way to prepare is by anticipating what questions they might ask so that you are equipped with the answers. This will not only take the pressure off the conversation on the day, but will also give you an overall more professional look.

Some questions will be asked by pretty much every client you meet up: How much is your daily rate, what other payment options do you have, do you have any examples of work for similar clients, and so on.

Others may not be as simple, but it is still worth preparing as many answers as you can. Reading into their industry may also open the door to other questions, so if you have found information about market shifts and industry issues, be prepared to answer questions the client might have.

If you have already spoken to a client over the phone or via email, you may have already provided examples of your work. If not, it is almost certain they will ask you in your initial meeting for a portfolio. This is your time to shine, so pick out your best work, as well as any examples that are directly relevant to their industry.

Think about what went well in the past

If this is not your first client, you will likely have done similar meetings in the past. To give you the best chance of crushing this one, think back to what went well and what did not. You might find patterns in the types of presentations and meeting styles that seem to work most often.

To help you with this analysis in the future, it is a good idea to note down any questions that were asked in the meeting, so that you can prepare yourself better for the next. Plus, this will help when following up with the client after you leave.

On the day

Dress to impress

While nobody is expecting you to arrive in a three-piece suit (unless your client is very high-end), you should aim to dress professionally. It takes just 7 seconds to make a first impression, so you really want to start off on the right side. Providing a friendly but professional image from the moment you meet will put your client at ease and help them gain confidence in your ability to do the job at hand.

That said, it is also important to be comfortable. If you are planning on doing a presentation, make sure you are not restricted in a tight pair of trousers or shirt! Comfortable is not just physical either: finding an outfit that makes you feel good and confident in your own skin will make it much easier for you to create the same impression for your clients.

Arrive early

Not all meetings will be at your place of work (especially if you freelance from home), so make sure to plan your route and get there early. For clients further away, it might be quicker to take a domestic flight rather than run the risk of getting stuck in traffic. Just make sure to leave yourself enough time to get to the airport!

Rather than rely on public transport to get you there on time, it might be worth driving to the airport and parking your car there. Sea Tac airport parking is very affordable and gives you easy access to the terminal.  Then, when you are back, you will know exactly where your car is parked and can head home in your own time, at your own pace.

Speak less, listen more

As we mentioned above, an initial client meeting is about setting your expectations and getting to know more about theirs. As such, you should aim to listen more than you speak. Instead of jumping into your presentation about your services and what you think your client might want, let them do the talking.

Show a genuine interest in their business, their strategies and their goals so that you know exactly what services to offer. You might even find yourself able to give them a freebie to help them on their way (a great idea for landing new clients!)

While listening, do not forget to keep note of key points to research deeper later.

After the meeting

Once you have left the client, got home and gathered your thoughts, your work is not complete. You will need to reach out to the client with any examples of work or answers they asked for, as well as reiterate anything that was discussed in the meeting. If you do not hear back, give them another follow up a few weeks later.

Initial client meetings get easier over time, but if this is your first, good luck! You are going to nail it!


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