When you’re a freelancer, pretty much everything starts with a meeting. In this article, we’ll share our advice on how to make sure your first meeting goes smoothly.
Before the meeting: define key points
Set clear goals for yourself
Define your objectives before the meeting and adapt your message accordingly.
Set a negotiation range for your Average Daily Rate (ADR)
Negotiating your rate is super important! Each project is different, so certain rates can be adjusted. However, it’s up to you to decide beforehand whether or not your rate is negotiable.
If it’s not negotiable, then don’t change it. If it is, you need to define the range and conditions. The ADR is the last parameter on which you can agree to negotiate and a client must always justify a request for a rate change.
Study the brief
You don’t need to memorize the brief, but do identify the most important points and make sure you can link them to your skills and past experience.
Prepare an overview of your experience and the project
Don’t share your life story! Learn to introduce yourself concisely and in a way that’s aligned to the project and your audience. And do the same for the client’s project: make sure you can summarize the project and requirements – it’ll show them you’re interested in the work.
Explore the context of the project and recent developments
Stay up to date with the latest updates, news, competition, and technological context of the client and project. This will demonstrate your interest in the project and your ability to stay on top of the latest trends, regardless of your area of expertise.
During the meeting: the ideal scenario
Let the client start
Ask the client to start by presenting their role, their company, the scope of the project and the challenges they’re facing. The client’s introduction will help you understand the person you’re talking to, what they expect from you and how to adapt your approach during the rest of the interview.
Be sure to listen
Take a proactive approach, look for keywords that come up often, take notes for later…
Ask questions by looking ahead
Even if the project is not yet finalized, ask your interviewer for more details:
- The why: what problem is this project solving? Do competitors have similar projects?
- The how: how will the project be carried out? How many people will be involved? What is the timeline?
- The results: when and how will the success of the project be measured?
After the meeting: manage your follow-ups
Send a rundown of key points a few days after the meeting and don’t hesitate to follow up one week after the meeting, and then regularly from then on.
In your follow up you could also consider including extra information about yourself that might interest your potential client: a new assignment you added to your portfolio, a training course you took that’s linked with the skills you’ll be using in the project, etc.
Want to learn more?
We’ve discussed the subject of client/freelancer meetings several times in our Malt Academy. Watch the replays, available in French:
- Convincing in client meetings, by Ruben Perez, freelance public speaking trainer
- How to negotiate with your clients, by Louis Augustin Calonne, senior freelance business developer
- Building customer loyalty with “assertive communication”, by Frédérique Joucla, freelance change management consultant
And here’s an article to improve your public speaking skills: