Whether you work a traditional 9-5, freelance on the side, or are a full-blown entrepreneur, at some point or another, you’re bound to be faced with a big client meeting. So how do you ensure you make a good first impression?
Let’s start with the great news: you landed a client! Now comes the nerve wracking part: showing up ready to execute on what you said you could do for them. To come to the meeting as your best self, you need to prepare ahead of time. Here are a few simple ways you can do exactly that. With the right prep, you’ll feel confident and ready to be the business woman you know you are.
1. Outline Your Plan For Your Big Client Meeting
No one likes to waste time, or worse, have their time wasted. That’s why it’s critical that you outline your plan before the client meeting. You can do this for your own sake, taking personal notes to stay on track and hit all the important points.
Conversely, you can create an agenda or welcome packet to share with your client, suggests Randle Browning, Skillcrush contributor. She explains, “Documentation is important in making a good impression. Besides helping you stay on track and cover all the important odds and ends—from your hourly rate to design ideas to a project timeline—an agenda or welcome packet shows you have a plan and you are good at communicating it to others.”
Within this welcome packet, you should include important details like typical procedures, payment protocols, project milestones and any other information that’s pertinent to your business and this particular client. To take it one step further, be sure to customize it to the client using their logo, name and other company information where possible.
2. Refresh Your Business Attire
Just like in an interview, you always want to be overdressed for a client meeting—never underdressed. Dressing the part takes more than just choosing nice clothes, however. If this is your first client meeting, there’s a good chance you’ll need to dust off your favorite business-friendly pieces before tossing them on.
To make the best impression, get your business clothing professionally cleaned ahead of time. First and foremost, a dry cleaner will ensure that your clothes are fresh and crisp—not wrinkly or covered in lint. Not to mention, delicate dress materials, like silk, will fare better and your clothes will get the true deep clean they need after sitting in the closet, suggest dry cleaning experts.
As you prepare your outfit for the day, consider the client, the location and your brand. While you want to dress in business attire, a coffee shop meeting may dictate less formal attire than one in an office.
3. Prepare Some Free Advice
The client will be paying for your services but there’s no better way to prove how helpful you can be by offering some free advice. Katy Cowan, Co-founder of Boomerang, says that this helps you build trust right away: “You’ll instantly build rapport and trust, not just because you’re showing that you care and that you’ve done your research—but because you’re also demonstrating your expertise. This means you’ll be well on your way to building a solid working relationship with them.”
Consider what little nugget of information you can throw into the conversation ahead of time. Remember that there may be a chance to do this naturally within the conversation as well, so don’t stress over coming up with something great ahead of time. Keep it in the back of your mind and wait for an opportunity to shine during the meeting.
4. Be Ready To Show Your Enthusiasm
Having an air of professionalism is always important, but don’t hold back your excitement about the project, says Allie Siarto, photographer. She explains to Under30CEO: “Clients want to work with companies and people who are genuinely excited about the products and services that they create. Forget about nerves—if you have an offering that you’re truly excited to talk about, your excitement will rub off on the potential client as well. Don’t hold back.”
Enthusiasm comes through in your tone of voice, body movements, and facial expressions. The best way to prepare ahead of time is to make sure you have a great morning leading up to the meeting. If needed, use a morning routine that puts you in a confident and present mindset so you can give your best to your client.
5. Prepare For Your Big Client Meeting
Use these simple tips to make sure you knock your first client meeting out of the park. When you prepare the talking points ahead of time, prep your favorite business attire, and stay in the moment, you’ll walk away feeling ready to kick off the project and land another client.