You wrote a killer pitch and now your potential new client wants to meet. Not sure what to expect? Worried about making mistakes? It’s usual to feel a little (or a lot) daunted before meeting a potential client for the first time. You want to make a good impression and convince them you’re the right person to hire for the job.
Client meetings are an inevitable part of being a professional content writer. Most clients will want at least one meeting before they hire you. We’re here with a few simple tips to help you make it a success.
Tip 1: Do Your Research
Find out everything you can about the company before your meeting, so you have a grasp of the business and how you can help meet their needs.
Background research is always worth your time. Don’t walk in blind to a meeting. Look around the company’s website and follow them on social media. Most businesses are on LinkedIn with links to all their employees.
Here are some questions to get you thinking:
- How big is the company?
- Who do they sell to?
- What are they known for?
- What are they currently doing?
- Where are there opportunities for you to help?
Doing this research means you’ll avoid making embarrassing mistakes and, better still, lets you confidently pitch the right service.
Tip 2: Plan Questions to Ask
When your client asks you if you have questions, you don’t want an awkward silence. Prepare a list of things you need to know. This is a useful way of think about the information you’ll need to be successful. Lots of these will naturally be covered during your meeting, and the rest are ready for you ask.
Good questions to ask a new client include:
- What quantity of writing do they need?
- Are there general topics to cover or will you be given specific titles?
- How quickly will they need work completed by?
- How much autonomy will you have?
- Has any research been done?
- What do they want included and how will you submit work?
- How much ongoing contact do they want?
Some content writers like to send out a template for potential clients to fill in before the meeting. This gives them a lot of detail about the broad scope of a project. Other writers prefer to keep their questions for a face-to-face meeting. It’s up to you to find the best approach to suit you.
Tip 3: Talk About What You’ve Achieved
Whilst your meeting will predominantly be about what your client wants, be prepared for them to ask you to talk about projects you’ve done in the past. They want to see you’ve got the skills and experience they’re looking for.
Think about past work that’s relevant. Talk about results you delivered. If you can explain the impact you’ve had on another client, they’ll want you to do the same for them.
If you’re a new content writer, think about wider skills you can bring to this project. Everyone starts somewhere, but you don’t want to give your client the feeling they’re taking a risk by hiring you.
Tip 4: Listen Carefully
You’ve probably already been given a rough idea of what your potential client is looking for. But beware! Don’t assume what they’ve told you before the meeting is exactly what they want.
Listen carefully to what they say. Sometimes this can be substantially different from what you expected. Watch out for changes to the scope of the project. If they’re adding in extra requirements or changing the time scale, adjust your price accordingly.
If things seem vague, ask questions to clarify exactly what they want from you. Often a client can’t exactly express what they need. Try repeating back your understanding of what they’ve said in a short summary, such as:
“You’d like four 1,000-word blog posts each week submitted as Word documents to a shared Google Drive folder. You’d like each blog post to have two images and a meta description. Have I captured everything you want me to include?”
This gives your potential new clients the opportunity to hear their ideas refined into a workable project outline. It helps you have a shared understanding and allows space to clarify any confusions you, or they, might have.
Tip 5: Plan Your Prices (Flexibly)
It’s very likely you’ll be asked to name your price during your meeting. That can be hard to plan for. Having as much information as possible before speaking to your client really helps. You can work out a rough price with room for any unexpected additions.
It’s worth creating your own private price list for a range of different project types you can use to price up work quickly. You don’t need to share this with your client, just have it ready in front of you.
- Your normal turnaround time and how much extra you want for short deadlines
- How much you charge for different amounts of words
- The cost of sourcing images
- An hourly charge for your time to cover meetings
Having a private price list gives you something to refer to rather than plucking figures out of the air. Be cautious and overprice the project to cover unexpected extras. They can always negotiate down.
If you can’t give an immediate price, tell them you need to work out the figures and will email them before the end of the same day. You don’t want them to look elsewhere whilst you’re pricing up. Don’t name a price if you aren’t completely sure you can deliver on it.
Tip 6: Be Clear About Your Terms
There are many horror stories from content writers about nightmare clients. You can avoid lots of issues by taking simple steps to protect yourself. Get used to talking openly about your payment terms and expectations in client meetings.
Always ask for an upfront deposit before you write. Content writers often charge anywhere between 25%–50% for a new client. You could ask to be paid in advance for a one-off piece. Avoid doing any unpaid trials; your portfolio should show your writing skills.
Talk about when you will invoice, how long they have to pay, and any late payment additional charges. If a client doesn’t want to sign a contract for the work, it’s a red flag that you should walk away.
Tip 7: Show Confidence
This is your opportunity to sell yourself to the client. They want to see you can handle this project. Even if you’re a complete newbie, acting confidently will reassure them you can deliver.
Most client meetings will be held on a video call, but you might talk over the phone, or even face-to-face. Be warm and friendly. Address the client by their name and let them see you’re human.
Keep your tone of voice and body language positive. When they speak, listen, smile, and nod to show you’re engaged and listening to them.
The key to a successful meeting is to make it about your client. Listen to what they’re saying and clarify exactly what they want from you. After the meeting, confirm the key points in a brief email to seal the deal, using ProWritingAid to check for any errors.
Everyone feels nervous when they speak with clients for the first time, no matter how much experience they have. It’s common to feel imposter syndrome but it gets easier over time. At first you might spend a lot of time getting ready for a meeting, but as you become more experienced, you’ll develop a usual routine you follow to have successful client meetings every time.