When meeting with clients for the first time, it can make even the most seasoned and confident person fraught with nerves. It’s hard not to be, especially when a meeting can win or lose you a new client. Remember that you are auditioning for the part of the person who can do the job, so it’s only natural to feel nervous. Here are some tips to help you get through your meeting without falling apart.
Prepare for the meeting
Be there at your meeting place at least thirty minutes earlier. Get a good seat and something to drink to relax you. Don’t forget to bring your portfolio or a fully charged laptop or tablet if you have an online one. Put your phone on silent. Have a pen and a notebook ready. Bring a business card.
If it’s a Skype meeting, get online early. Check your mic sound, your headset, and your internet connection. Go to a room that’s quiet and well-lit. Also, have your files ready and your web browsers open. Dress nicely and appropriately. You have to feel comfortable in your clothes and with how you look. Otherwise, it can affect the outcome of the meeting.
Do your research
Know more about the person you’re meeting with, how their business started, their goals, their missions, and their visions. Also, read up on their biggest competitors. Knowing all these give you the information you need to design or create something that will meet their needs and effectively target their audience.
Don’t get straight to business. Instead, break the ice. Ask them about the weather, about their drive to the meeting place, about how nice they look in their clothes, etc. Make them feel relaxed by cracking a joke or two. Don’t appear too eager or too assertive. Don’t be cocky or stiff, either. Use their first name all throughout the meeting as this establishes rapport and evokes confidence.
Watch your body language
How confident or how unsure you are will be evident in your posture or your gesture. Sit up straight and lean towards them when you talk. Maintain eye contact. Nod your head to show your agreement. Laugh when you find something funny but not too much.
Let them talk
Let them talk about the project and what they will require from you should you be selected to work with them. Listen and take down notes if needed. This shows you’re taking this seriously and don’t want to miss one important detail. When they’re done talking, ask them intelligent questions and repeat their words back to them. “So you want to focus on your Instagram presence this time because you want to be more visual in your marketing. Am I right?”
Don’t overdo it, though. Show how you helped a client with a project and what the results were. Back this up with a spreadsheet or a PowerPoint presentation. Offer free advice. Answer their questions confidently and sufficiently.
Talk like you’ve already won the business and you’re just ironing out the small details.
Before leaving the meeting, smile, shake their hands, and thank them for their time. Give them your business card and tell them you’ll be more than happy to discuss more on the phone.