Last week we discussed how freelance writers should dress for a client meeting. The Freelance Writing Jobs community pitched in with lots of good tips and additional advice.
While a professional appearance is important, there’s much more to getting ready for a face to face client meeting than what you wear.
In this post, we’ll provide some additional tips to help you get ready for a meeting at your client’s site or your prospective client’s office.
Ten Tips to Help You Get Ready for a Client Meeting
Here are ten tips to help you get ready to meet in person with a client:
- Do your homework. If the meeting is with a new client or a prospect, learn all that you can about their business BEFORE you get to the meeting. Review their website (if they have one) and any publicly available information about their business.
- Be on time for the meeting. Being late conveys a lack of respect for your client’s time. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your client’s location. Better early to the meeting than late. Most GPS systems can give you an idea of the travel time needed to reach a particular destination.
- Bring clips or samples. Make sure that you have relevant clips of your very best writing with you for the client to examine. If possible, make copies and leave some behind when you go.
- Bring contact information. Pack your business cards and any brochures that you have describing your freelance writing business. Plan to pass these materials out at the client site. A folder with samples and a description of your business can help keep your name on their minds.
- Plan what you’re going to say. Of course, you don’t know exactly what the client might ask you–but, you probably have a good idea. Make a list of possible questions and your answers to those questions. Bring your own questions for the client as well.
- Don’t answer your cell phone. You’ll probably bring your cell phone or blackberry with you, of course. But, do turn the ringtone off. It’s rude to answer the phone in the middle of a meeting. You certainly don’t want your phone going off just as your client is about to offer you a project. 🙂
- Adopt your best attitude. Go into the meeting with a positive attitude about your prospective client, about the writing that you will do for them, and about your own freelance writing business. Without you realizing it, your client will pick up on your attitude and may factor that into their decision.
- Listen carefully. Even if the client doesn’t hand you a list of specifications for what they want, their conversation is full of clues about what they want and need. Pay attention to what they say and how they say it. Take notes for later reference if you need to.
- Gather contact information. Make a note of the names and titles of the people that you meet. If you are not offered business cards, ask for them. Most people are more than happy to exchange business cards.
- Follow-up. A thank-you note is a natural follow-up to a business meeting. Be sure to spell the names of the people that you met with correctly and use their proper title in your correspondence. If appropriate, also make a follow-up phone call.
This list should help you to prepare for nearly any type of face-to-face meeting.
Have you gone to face-to-face meetings with clients? How did you get ready for the meeting?