04 Aug Tips for Freelancers Who Want to Ace First-Time Client Meetings
Tips for Freelancers Who Want to Ace First-Time Client Meetings
Do you have an upcoming meeting with a client? Make sure you nail it. Here are tips for freelancers who want to ace initial meetings and get the client.
Part of being a successful freelancer is selling yourself. You need to have the confidence to prove to your potential client that you’re the best choice for the job, and why wouldn’t you? You are!
But the thing is that they don’t know that yet.
So how do you show them? How do you put on the most convincing front to let your client know that you’re about to have an awesome client/freelancer relationship?
This can be tricky especially with the limited amount of time that you have to really seal the deal.
We’ve gathered some tips for freelancers that can help put your mind at ease.
Keep reading for a few tips for acing your next client meeting.
Do Your Research
When you’re looking for a new contract, you want to let your client know that you’ve put some work in on your own time.
This work doesn’t have to be extensive, but it should be thorough enough that you clearly know your stuff. If they have a company website or a personal website (depending on the freelance work that you’re doing), take a bit of time to deep-dive into there and get to know your potential new client.
It’s easy to just browse the homepage and any “about” or “contact” pages that they have, but if you seriously want to wow your clients, you need to go deeper.
This also helps you.
Go into their blogs, their subpages, their videos if they have them. Consider looking into their LinkedIn pages (though perhaps on an incognito browser, did you know that people can see when you view their LinkedIn profiles? Whoops!).
Knowing what they’re all about can help you ace this interview, but it can also help strengthen (or weaken) the connection that you have with the client. Maybe you realize that this client just isn’t for you when you’re on your dive.
Research is never a bad idea. Don’t enter an interview unprepared.
You want to prove to your client that you know their work and that you are the right person to hire. Tailor your interview and portfolio to the work that they’re looking for.
Have a Strong Portfolio
On the topic of portfolios, it’s likely that yours is going to be more important than any resume or cover letter. Is it strong enough to hold your weight?
Having a professional portfolio that clearly suits the needs of your client will make you seem prepared. You’ll look like the ideal freelancer, or someone who was born specifically to fill this role.
You’ll do this through your preparation.
In your portfolio, keep the strongest work in the very front and the very back (or beginning and end, depending on how you format your collection). All of the work should be work that you’re proud of, but really focus in on the first few and the last.
If they’re going to look at your portfolio right then and there, they likely won’t go in-depth. They’ll scan.
When scanning, the work in the middle is often overshadowed by the things that they see first and the things that they see last. These bookends should be the pieces that prove that you can do the work that they need. Work in the middle can be more varied, showing your flexibility or other useful skills.
This is your first (and perhaps only) opportunity to show off in person. Make it count.
There is no reason that you shouldn’t have a laptop or tablet available when you’re meeting a client for the first time. Don’t get caught in the idea that it will make it seem like you’re not paying attention to your potential client.
Tech has a few advantages. The first has us doubling back to your portfolio. While it’s common in some industries to have physical portfolios, the world is increasingly digital as time goes on.
A smooth and well-organized portfolio in an iPad or on a personal website looks clean and professional, and it lets you keep your work on you at all times. Let your client know that you’re not only talented, but you’re also organized and a pro at presentation.
Having the proper technology also allows you to look things up on the fly. An interview isn’t a test (though it can seem like one). Checking on something with your own device is generally acceptable (though this can vary by field).
When in doubt, bring it. You don’t have to use it, but it’s better to have it just in case.
Meeting a new client is nerve-wracking. We know.
Your client doesn’t have to know how nervous you are. Stifle those jitters and pretend that you own the place. In other words, fake it until you make it.
Everyone has doubts about their own work and capabilities. You don’t want your client to have those same doubts.
Never point out problems in the work that you’re presenting. To your client, you need to show a confident freelancer who is proud of the work that they’ve done. If you don’t trust you, they can’t trust you.
Before your meeting, plan what you’re going to say, but don’t script it. Scripts can backfire if you miss even one cue. You can have a small note with a list of your general talking points instead to trigger your memory.
If you experience anxiety, look into good on-the-fly anxiety coping mechanisms that you can use before you start the meeting.
Overall, you want to project a persona that’s confident, charismatic, and ready to conquer any task. In reality, most of us don’t feel that way, but we overcome our jitters and give an awesome interview anyway.
Tips for Freelancers: Takeaways
When you’re meeting your client the first time it’s normal to be tense. Some of the best and most helpful tips for freelancers have to do with the heavy prep work that goes into your interview.
Do research so that you’re prepared, have an awesome portfolio set up, and don’t neglect your tech.
When in doubt, pretend that you’re not in doubt at all. You’re awesome and you’ve got this under control.
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