This is a collaborative post.
Starting out as a freelancer is tough and sometimes, it feels like you’re never going to land your first client. But as long as you’re proactive and you keep working at it, you will eventually get somebody who is interested in your services. Now all you have to do is actually convince them that you’re the right person for the job, which is actually a lot harder than it sounds. Today we’re looking at ways for freelancers to impress in client meetings.
This is one of the aspects of freelance life that I find more difficult. It can be hard to correctly judge the level of expectation and the type of persona you’re going to come into contact with when you source your own workload. Meeting prospective clients in person can be even trickier.
There are a lot of freelancers out there, so you need to work hard at impressing a potential client if you’re going to get the work, and that often starts with the first meeting. These are some of the best ways to impress a client and hopefully land that job.
Choose The Right Location
The location for a client meeting is key because the place that you choose to meet tells them something about your personality and your attitude to work. Meeting them at your house isn’t ideal because it’s not really that professional. Plus, do you really want to be inviting someone you don’t actually know to your home address? No, me neither.
You could meet them at a cafe and sometimes that’s fine, but really, it depends on the client. You need to gauge what kind of person they are and whether they would consider meeting in that kind of atmosphere unprofessional or not. Sometimes, it’s better to invest a bit of money in a virtual office space (like these at yourvirtualofficelondon.co.uk) where you have access to meeting rooms. Another plus side to this is that you can list a professional office, rather than your home, as a business address which makes you appear more legitimate and you also have a more professional setting to meet them in.
Make no mistake, your prospective clients will be judging you on everything, so picking the right location is an important start.
Research Their Company
During this first meeting, you really need to show the client how you can help them and their company, which is why it’s important that you know their company or business project inside out. If you don’t research the client properly, you won’t have a full understanding of what their needs are, so you won’t be able to communicate to them why you’re the best person to meet their needs.
Showing a good knowledge of what their company is all about shows the client that you’re invested in the relationship and you’re actually the type of person who will use their initiative by doing your own research into things.
Put Together A Portfolio
I can’t stress this one enough, it’s so important. Nobody is likely to hire you without first seeing your work, so you need a portfolio. Most freelancers write for many different websites and blogs so you often write in different styles. I know I do! When you’re putting together your portfolio, it’s important that you consider what the client needs and match the style to the content that they’re likely to want. There’s no use showcasing how great you are at writing book reviews or lifestyle pieces if they’re looking for copy for a business website.
This step can be hard, and I can really empathise with it as it’s an ongoing process that you need to review as you create new work. Always try and keep your portfolio fresh, and try to only select your best pieces of work. Think quality, not quantity.
Take Notes And Follow Up
It’s important that you actively listen to what the client is saying and take some notes down. This shows them that you’re really taking notice of what they’re telling you and it makes it easier to follow up afterwards. After the meeting, you can write a follow-up email outlining everything that you discussed and how you aim to meet their needs.
Not only does this demonstrate your attentiveness to your prospective client, it actually proves helpful to you as a research gathering exercise. Even if the job doesn’t pan out in your favour, you’ve still spent valuable time learning what a prospective client actually wants from you. That kind of insight can prove invaluable when adjusting your value proposition as a whole.
These are just four simple ways for freelancers to impress in client meetings. There are loads of other ideas out there, but above all, you need to remember that you’re meeting a new client as a business proposition first and foremost.
The key things to remember here are your professionalism and your ability to demonstrate your work ethic to your client. Don’t forget to be a human being though! Interact, ask, and above all, listen to their needs. If you follow these steps, you will be able to impress clients in those initial meetings and hopefully, get more work as a result.
What would your top tips be for freelancers looking to impress or win over prospective clients? let me know in the comments or you can catch up with me over on Twitter or Facebook. I’d love to know what some of your experiences have been as freelancers or as someone who has worked with a freelancer before.