Understanding Client Needs
When meeting a new client for the first (or second) time, it’s important to first get a sense of what the client wants. Start the conversation by asking why the client contacted you specifically. This allows them to explain what they’re looking for.
Ask additional questions as the conversation progresses to learn more about the details and scope of work. Ask about how they currently fill these needs and why it isn’t working anymore. Take notes and answer questions the client has for you as completely as possible.
The point you want to make: I care deeply about your business. You are not just another client – you’re my client and you’re important.
Your Time to Shine
Once you have an understanding of what the client needs, show why they’ve called in the right person. Share stories about similar situations involving other clients, industry tips, and other information clients can readily use. If you’ve already come up with some ideas, share the gist of those ideas (with the promise of more detail once you’ve been hired).
Talk about your employees, awards you’ve won, and a little about why you went into business. Be confident about the services you provide. Finally, ask about the administrative details involved in the project – milestones, deliverables, budget, timeline, others you may be working with, etc.
Go From “I’ll call you” to “When Can start?”
If, in the past, potential clients uttered the words, ‘I’ll call you’ and then mysteriously never called, it’s time to change your approach. Make sure clients know that their project means a lot to you and your business. Listening carefully and responding thoughtfully to questions goes a long way.
How you meet with a new client sets the tone for the entire relationship. Clients should leave the meeting feeling confident they selected the person that’s right for the job. Before the meeting ends, ask if there are any other questions you can answer about your business, the project, or your qualifications. Make sure new clients know that you want and deserve their business. And if you still get an ‘I’ll call you’ response, contact them in a day or two to set up a new meeting or to find out why they decided to go with someone else.