How to create a first good impression with your client?
Before to meet:
If the meeting has been set a while in advance, send a short message to the client to confirm/double-check it’s still happening and let them know you are looking forward to meeting them. Doing this makes you appear serious and assures you not to lose your time in case the meeting has to be postponed.
Meeting in the client office:
– First of all, arrive on time and say good morning to everyone you cross by, you never know who those people are.
– Be chatty, usually, the person welcoming you will take you to a meeting room or somewhere else that the reception, don’t stay quiet while you walk there, initiate the conversation if needed.
Meeting in a cafe or your own office:
– Welcome the client as soon as they arrive, people don’t like to wait at reception.
During the meeting
– Start with some quick chat about personal life when you arrive (something more interesting than the weather or how are you greeting), but get to the point quickly after that.
– During the conversation, mention tools and give away ideas to demonstrate you have the knowledge and help the client imagine themselves working with you.
– Always speak as if you will do the project even if you know there is a chance it might not happen.
– Try to avoid negation in your sentences, be direct and honest, avoid doing shit sandwich if you disagree with someone, express your thoughts clearly and explain why you disagree.
– An impression is a connection, to make a good first impression you need to be in line with the client. You need to sell yourself. However, before telling them about yourself and own projects, ask them about them and the project. Then, use examples of your work to comfort them in their need. So instead of spending time talking about the full range of thing, you do with a risk of maybe confusing the client, talk only about what you do very related to their own needs.
– During jobs interview, reverse the interviewer/interviewee role as soon as you can. Ask them about what kind of work they do, and make them feel you are the one deciding if you want to work with them or not (it is true, you have the power to turn down work and in some case, you should). Taking the power and lead in the conversation makes people respect you and trust your words more.
– Leave the meeting with a smile and energy. Always sound busy even if you are not (but freelancers usually are anyway), potential client are worried to work with freelancers who don’t have work, even when you are in between contracts or projects people wonder why you are not working.
After the meeting
– Send a sum up of the conversation or/and reference links/content of elements you mentioned during the meeting.
On top of those, we have all the classics tips: dress up properly, be punctual, give a proper handshake, pay attention to your body language (don’t cross your arm, etc), speak clearly (no mumbling), look at people into the eyes, thanks them for their time.
That’s advice I apply to myself when I meet my clients.