Booking your first meeting from a cold call with a potential client can be an intimidating experience, as it sets a precedent for the rest of your experience with one another. Few things are more daunting than this initial encounter, especially when you are unprepared.
There are many factors to keep in mind when planning your first client meeting, such as making a good first impression, asking the right questions, and successfully selling yourself and your services. This can seem overwhelming at first, but with the right preparation, it can feel like a regular conversation with an acquaintance.
In this article, we will discuss the importance of acing this first meeting, advice on how to do so, and how to turn the potential into a paying client in just one conversation.
Table of Contents [Show]
How to Prepare For Your First Client Meeting
Arguably the most important step in this process is to ensure that you are fully prepared for your first client meeting. This will make you come across as knowledgeable, organized, and trustworthy. Confidence is key here, as 83% of people report feeling more positively about someone who appears confident upon meeting them.
Do your research
During your research, you should focus on two things: who your client is, and what they expect from you. Educate yourself on their industry and their business, and check any relevant business social media accounts such as LinkedIn to familiarize yourself with the client.
Determine the objective
Determine the main objective of the meeting, whether it’s to introduce yourself and your business, discuss a specific project, or address a problem. Clarify the purpose of the meeting beforehand so that you can prepare accordingly.
Prepare your presentation
Prepare a presentation that outlines your services, expertise, and past successes. Highlight your unique selling proposition and how you can add value to their business. Make sure to include examples that are relevant to their industry and the specific project.
Prepare a list of potential questions that the client might ask during the meeting, and have clear and concise responses ready. This will demonstrate your knowledge and expertise, and help build confidence in your abilities.
Prepare any relevant documents
If the meeting is in person, have any relevant documents, such as a portfolio or certifications, neatly prepared and in a folder. If the meeting is online, have the documents open and ready for when you share your screen.
Lastly, plan the logistics. Make sure that you know the location of the meeting, how to get there, and an estimate of how long it will take. Arrive early to set up any equipment you may need, and dress appropriately for the meeting. If the meeting is online, double-check the time, have the meeting link ready, and ensure that there is no distracting background noise or visible clutter.
Questions to Ask During Your First Meeting With a New Client
In addition to anticipating questions that the new client may have, you should compile your own list of questions to ask. This will help you to gain clarity on the client’s needs and expectations, as well as to learn more about the work.
Below are some good questions to ask any new or prospecting client to get to know them, and the project, much better:
- Can you tell me a little bit about your business and what you hope to achieve?
- What do you envision the final project to look like?
- What are your primary concerns and goals for the project so far?
- Have you ever worked with a [your job title] before?
- If so, what did you like or dislike about the experience?
- How do you measure success and ROI?
- What is the timeline for this project?
- Who will be the primary point of contact on your end?
- How often are you interested in communicating with your [your job title]?
- Are there any specific requirements or restrictions we should be aware of?
These questions should help you gain clarity on exactly what the client expects from you, the expected time frame of the project, as well as the way that your client works. Feel free to add any more relevant questions that pertain to the project, but the above questions should cover most of the basics for your first client meeting.
What Should You Not Do During the First Client Meeting?
It is equally as important to know what not to do during the first client meeting. There are a few things that you should avoid doing, in order to come across as professional and experienced.
- Don’t be late: Being punctual is doubly important when making a first impression. Arriving late could convey the message that you are unprofessional and don’t value the client’s time.
- Don’t oversell: While you want to impress the client, avoid overselling your services or making unrealistic promises. Be honest about your abilities and how you can help them achieve their goals.
- Don’t be pushy: While it’s important to follow up with the client after the meeting, avoid being too pushy or aggressive. Give them space to make their own decision and don’t pressure them into making a commitment on the spot.
What To Do After the Meeting
How you handle the days following the first client meeting will say a lot about your overall professionalism and the way that you work.
Directly after the meeting, send the client an email thanking them for meeting with you, and telling them to contact you with any other questions or concerns that they may have. This will show them that you care about their business and are eager to be of service.
In the days following the meeting, if they have not yet responded confirming about starting dates and other important details, feel free to follow up with them. However, it is important not to come across as pushy or demanding in this follow-up.
An example of a follow-up email could look like this:
Dear [Client Name], I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to follow up on our meeting on [Insert Date of Meeting]. I enjoyed discussing your business goals and how my services can help you achieve them. As I mentioned during our meeting, I can provide [Insert Details of Services] that could help you to achieve [Insert Client's Business Goals]. I believe that my experience and expertise can be a great asset to your business. I understand that you may need some time to make a decision. Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns, and I'd be happy to provide you with any additional information that you may need. I would appreciate it if you could let me know whether you are still interested in working together, and if so, what the next steps are. I look forward to hearing back from you. Thank you again for your time and consideration. Best regards, [Your Name]
Acing your first client meeting is crucial for building a positive and long-lasting relationship with a potential client.
It is important to be fully prepared, ask the right questions, and avoid common pitfalls to help ensure that the meeting goes smoothly. Following up after the meeting in a professional and courteous manner can also help keep the lines of communication open and increase your chances of securing the client’s business.
By keeping these tips in mind, you can approach your first client meeting with confidence and increase your chances of success.