"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
As featured on: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, LifeHack, Technorati, Date My Pet, South 85 Literary Journal and other award-winning sites.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

How to Prepare For Your Initial Freelance Business Meeting


Congratulations! You've pitched a potential client and landed a sweet deal to provide your services.
But, don't let all your hard work and creativity stop there.
A face-to-face meeting (when permissible), helps to get relations off to a winning start, allows you to get a good handle on your new client's needs and personality, and enables you to work more efficiently.

Though the Internet allows freelancers to conduct online business meetings globally, with folks from Texas to Timbuktu, sometimes local clients prefer interacting in person before any money is exchanged, or deals are finalized and set in stone.

With this being the case, here are a few tips to make the most of your big day.

1. Don't leave anything to memory or chance.
Commit all important details in an email of confirmation. Things like location, time, initial deposit amount required to start project, etc.

2. Have a clear agenda.
Remember, "Time is money". Operating without an agenda can cause time to be lost through small talk, unclear directions, and lack of focus.

3. Turn your cell phone off.
So often, we feel the need to stay "connected" that we forget how distracting it is for others with whom we are engaging in person. If you are expecting an important call, at least put your phone on vibrate.

4. If you are "treating" your new client on your credit card.
Be sure to check the balance before you go to the restaurant to place your order. You wouldn't want to ruin your professional image by having your card rejected for lack of available credit.

5. Dress the part.
Let's face it: one of the coolest things about freelancing from home is that everyday can be "dress down day". Still, when it comes to new clients---business is still business. Make an effort to put on your best attire; you'll feel more confident too.

6. Consider bringing a small gift of thanks.
Things like calendars, magnets, a coffee basket, or decorative pens are a great added touch, and a way to separate you from the competition.

Remember, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression."

Thoughts?

10 comments:

  1. This is a great post. The only other thing I can think of is to arrive on time, and be sure to call if you're running late.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Marcie,

      Thanks for stopping by and weighing in here. You bring up a good point: punctuality is a must! :-)

      Delete
  2. Yes, I do believe that good preparation can be important, especially turning your cell phone off in order to avoid distractions is definitely a good one,
    and talking about distractions,

    Once (in the time I worked at the Sales Department of a Big Company) I had some people over that wanted to show me a certain advertising system. To avoid distractions for this meeting, I did think about turning off the cell phone and holding the phone, I even already had a fresh can of coffee in the office and asked collegues to keep away for a while...,

    I thought that I thought about everything, except for a big printing assignment I gave the big full color printer. It silently had been 'digesting' it's printing assignment for minutes, and because of that all forgot about it untill it - noise rich - begun to print out about half a forest worth of paper when they came in :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. H.P.,

      Interesting indeed...thanks for sharing this. LOL

      Delete
  3. These are wonderful tips for putting your best foot forward. I always do my best to be well rested, too. It helps me stay clear headed and on top of things lest the conversation head off on a rabbit trail. Some clients can be a bit harder to steer back on track. :) Thanks, Jennifer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 10, 2013 at 7:06 PM

      Karen,

      How true! I appreciate your time and perspective. :-)

      Delete
  4. Good tips for cold calling, too. Especially having an agenda and dressing the part. Love this post.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 11, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    Thanks, Sue. "Love" that you stopped by and told me. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Greetings! I've been reading your site for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Lubbock Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the excellent work!
    Here is my blog post :: personal loans

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer Brown BanksJanuary 14, 2013 at 7:12 AM

      "ANONYMOUS"

      Thanks for your thoughts.

      Delete