Face-to-face client meeting can seem daunting at first, but with the right mind-set and preparation they can become a beneficial tool to solidifying a client. According to a study by Oxford Economics USA, in person meetings are far more effective than virtual meetings, especially with prospective customers. We have come up with five tips for meeting a client in person.
Meeting a Client In Person
As a freelancer, there are specific rules and tips that can help make meeting a client in person a successful one:
1. Meet on your own terms
Meeting with a client on their turf can be hectic and stressful. Running from one building to the next, hunting for parking, being on time. We, as designers, know this pain all too well. With this type of stress, the meeting often begins on the wrong foot and may leave you feeling uneasy and doubtful. Finding a comfortable place close to you, or inviting the clients to your office eliminates this issue. In a comfortable, familiar space, you will be more calm, focused and collected. Keep in mind, you don’t have to tell the client that the location you have selected is near you, for all they know you could have traveled great distances to meet with them!
2. Create an agenda
Particularly with new clients, creating a pre-determined plan of discussion can keep the meeting on track and focused. As a designer, you must wear multiple hats. Staying organized, controlling the floor, and executing your set topics will allow for a clear, productive and fluid meeting.
3. Be honest
With new or prospective clients, its safe to assume you are not the only designer they have consulted or worked with. Remember, it is not just your skill set that solidifies a client, its you. Staying honest about billing, hours, etc., gives your client a reason to trust and hire you. Half of our clients have either been burned or cheated by previous designers. Being honest will go along way with your clients and is the best way to get referrals.
4. Leave with a smile
Talking details and terms are important, but so is connecting with your clients. If appropriate, don’t be afraid to laugh or lighten the mood. Meetings can be stuffy, but the more you open up and connect with your client the more enjoyable and memorable it can be for both parties. Leaving with a smile can set the tone in a positive direction for the working relationship.
5. Bill for your time
Smart pricing practices dictate that you include travel and meeting time in your estimate and invoice. Make sure your client respects your time and yourself if not you may find yourself feeling overworked and under appreciated.
The simple reality is that meeting a client in person isn’t alway possible. With today’s technology you could easily have a client halfway around the world. Thankfully, with light modifications, these five tips can still be useful. However, when the opportunity arises, meeting in a client person will be more beneficial to you than any virtual option ever would. The human connection is irreplaceable so remember, lead with a handshake and leave with a smile! For more helpful tips on meeting a client in person, check out this article by Inc. Magazine.
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