Thursday, October 2, 2008

Meeting Clients Face to Face

Earlier this afternoon I had my first face to face meeting with a client I've been working with for almost 12 months. They are probably my biggest client (and my favorite because they ALWAYS pay on time and keep me happy, brimming with projects to work on) and currently the only one who's local.

My main contact kindly invited me to lunch discuss the new direction of the company and how business is increasing as a result. You could say he had me at "hello." We briefly discussed the fact that I am a vegetarian when deciding where to meet and settled on a quaint, trendy neighborhood bistro in town. Then I started getting nervous.

You should have seen me last night throwing outfits, purses and shoes all around. He said it was a casual lunch meeting, but I was obsessed with making sure I made the best face-to-face impression.

I used to consider my freelance writing business as completely virtual. Why do I need to meet clients? I love the anonymity of operating an online business. But lately I've had more requests from local prospects to meet face to face. Perhaps it's a final step in making sure I'm the writer they're looking for. In the case of my current client, I think they wanted to make sure I was willing and able to handle their expanding business. I say since they're the ones paying, there's nothing wrong with that.

The meeting was successful, I'm happy to say. These guys are brilliant at what they do for other businesses, and I'm glad to be a part of their future plans. I know that getting out and meeting clients can be a challenge for some writers, but if you can, I highly suggest it. It could take your business relationship to the next level. Take advantage of your next client meeting with the following tips:

1) Talk less and listen more. I talk a lot, and think I did today at my meeting… But it's best to let your clients do the bulk of the talking.

2) If you plan to take notes, ask the client if they mind first. Some people may feel that you are distracted by writing as they speak.

3) Clarify what you've heard. Repeat what you client says back so they know you understand them.

4) Up sell your services. If you're currently working on web content, suggest something like submitting articles to directories for back linking, etc.


Devon Ellington said...

All great points. I'm shy, so I prefer to do things online, but I find I truly enjoy the face-to-face meetings when they happen. They stimulate creativity, because you can learn so much from observing and listening to the client in a way that doesn't always come across on the page.

Avid Writer said...

I can be shy too, devon. And I'm pretty private, so I love having an online business. But I'm glad I went and I had a great time.:)

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