More Tips to Help You Prepare for a Client Meeting

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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. 🙂
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Feedback Time

Have you gone to face-to-face meetings with clients? How did you get ready for the meeting?


11 responses
  1. Chris Mower Avatar

    I’d add another one: Don’t go into the meeting acting like a “know-it-all”. I’ve met with people looking to make me their client who were like that and it was an immediate disaster. There’s no way I’d hire anybody like that, and when I go to meetings, I think it’s important to not be like that either.
    .-= Chris Mower´s last blog ..Business IS Personal =-.

    1. Laura Spencer Avatar

      Good point Chris!

      Having a good attitude is not the same as being a know-it-all. 🙂
      .-= Laura Spencer´s last blog ..Is Blogging Journalism? =-.

  2. Phil Avatar

    No. 6 should be followed at other times, too. It’s one thing if you know that you have a truly important call coming or if you have an elderly parent (so a doctor call could be important), but I think it’s rude when I’m talking to someone and they put me off for a cell call…heck, rather than talking face to face, maybe I should call on the cell to have priority. That’s why I often leave cell at home. If it’s important, they’ll call back.

    1. Laura Spencer Avatar

      It’s interesting you should mention it Phil, because a few years ago I actually was in the situation of caring for elderly parents. Even in that situation I was able to glance at the incoming call information on the screen and knew instantly who it was from. In places where I had to be quiet, I had the phone on vibrate so that no one else would hear it ring, but I would be aware of the call and could check it discretely.

      Personally, I don’t like to leave my cell phone at home when I’m driving because you never know when you might need it (such as if your car broke down or you got really lost…). That’s just me, though. 🙂
      .-= Laura Spencer´s last blog ..Is Blogging Journalism? =-.

      1. Phil Avatar

        I expect my car to break down :). But cars were breaking down (especially mine) long before cell phones. I work hard enough, I don’t need to be tethered to the phone, unlike my 19-year-old, who needs to have her phone surgically removed.

        1. Laura Spencer Avatar

          I understand Phil. 🙂 But, I do feel safer with the cell…
          .-= Laura Spencer´s last blog ..Is Blogging Journalism? =-.

  3. Mike Avatar

    Good article. I have always paid attention to the last point. In my experience, the following up of meeting outcomes and providing information in time has translated in almost all deals closed.

    Hope this helps.

    .-= Mike´s last blog ..The Adsense Revenue Share =-.

    1. Laura Spencer Avatar

      Thanks Mike!

      You are right. The last point IS critical. You’d surprised how often it gets forgotten…
      .-= Laura Spencer´s last blog ..Is Blogging Journalism? =-.

  4. Chris Avatar

    I also have lists of questions made up for specific types of clients. For example, if it’s someone looking for copy for their site, I have a list that helps me get to the bottom of what they do/ what sets them apart. Of course, if I’m interviewing someone for a magazine article, well that changes everything!

  5. Angie Papple Johnston Avatar

    Don’t forget to dress professionally – although it isn’t right to judge someone by what they’re wearing, people do; especially if this is your first meeting. Dress conservatively and appropriately for the environment. It should go without saying, I know, but holey jeans and spaghetti straps are not appropriate for meeting a client.

    1. Angie Papple Johnston Avatar

      Shoot – please don’t approve my last comment. I just saw the link to last week’s post about dressing appropriately. I’m sorry for the inconvenience!

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