Getting ready to meet a new client for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience. You need to prepare to be the best version of yourself and show him, or her, how you are the right person for the task. In a single hour, you need to demonstrate your capability for the project and capacity for meeting deadlines. Above all, you need to build trust and create an environment that will lead to a long-term working relationship.
This can indeed be an exhausting experience. Don’t worry, we got you covered. Here are some easy tips to keep in mind so you can nail that first meeting.
I. Dress for The Occasion
You have probably got your best formal outfit ready for the big meet. However, you also need to pay attention to the smaller details. Your funky cell phone cover with those devil horns might send the wrong message. Chipped or dirty nails, skull earrings, unkempt hair, or unpolished shoes can make you look tardy. If the initial appearance strikes the right note, clients are less likely to try to negotiate over pricing. Impeccable professionalism always impresses everyone.
Finally, don’t forget to smile.
II. Add A Human Touch
Beginning with small talk always helps break the ice. Ask a few simple and non-intrusive questions and talk a little about yourself to put the client at ease. If small talk makes you uncomfortable, you can simply begin by complimenting the client’s choice of the coffee house or his office interior design. Find an interesting piece of design or artwork and try to talk about what inspired the client to have it there.
Avoid jumping directly into technical jargon at the start, as this will make the client edgy and uncomfortable.
III. Take Notes
Whenever, your client mentions an important detail about his preferences in color, fabric or even budget, make notes.
Carrying a palm-sized notebook still holds a key charm. The fact that you are writing notes down shows that you value your client’s time and his choices. Moreover, this is the one act that will probably distinguish you and leave an impression after your leave. Do remember, don’t type your notes into a cell phone or a tablet as it could send a wrong signal that you are texting someone else. They must be handwritten.
IV. Keep The Phone Silent
Probably the most important tip for any meeting- keep your dearie on silent mode.
Our lives are so dependent on smartphones that almost none of us can imagine talking to anyone, without the occasional glance to see what that beep was all about. Even a single glance at your phone sends the meeting downhill and wastes the minutes your client has specifically set aside for you. If you are expecting any important call, try to have them re-directed. Also, even if the client answers his phone for a minute, don’t use that time checking your own for texts. Rather go over the notes you made.
V. Get Back in Touch
Well, meeting done and it seemed to have ended on a good note. But, how do you know for sure? The next morning shoot an email to your prospective client thanking him for his time.
Mention a brief summary about the discussion that you had and a few inputs from your side. He, or she, is bound to appreciate the email and revert. There is no better way to keep the lines of communication open and make your client remember you as an exceptional professional for the task.
Remember, first impression is the last impression; so make the most of your chance.