Freelancer: Meeting Clients Wisely
Meeting clients is an essential part of being a successful freelancer; it is essential in any businesses or money-making projects. Clients are people who hire you for projects. They are the ones who pay you for getting the work done. They are the ones who sustain your business and grow it to the next level. Without clients, you are just another professional with no platform to present your talents and skills. Thus, meeting clients are important. But just how much priority shall we place in this area of our freelance business?
When I started out freelancing fulltime 12-month back, I remember getting all excited to meet every client who contacted me either via emails, phone calls or my website. I would try to make appointments as soon as possible so that I can meet them and be briefed on the task. That was the newbie-me getting all excited whenever there were new business leads – which resulted in churning out more quotations than actually securing the jobs (mainly because Malaysian clients are targetting at low budget and not quality, it’s a culture thing!). As time goes by, I became wiser when it comes to meeting clients and here are some tips I would like to share with you guys.
Tip #1 – Find out more via email/phone call before setting an appointment.
When you get an email or note that says, “We’re looking for a designer and we like your portfolio. Can we meet up?” – Try not to reply with a big ‘YES’ instantly. Instead, try to find out more about this new client. You can google them up, check out their websites or ask them some basic information of their projects before arranging for an appointment. That way, you will know if they are really looking for a designer or a web programmer. Honestly, some clients cannot tell the difference because they are not in our field of work.
Tip #2 – Be mindful of idea diggers.
“Can we meet up and discuss what you will do if I give you this project? I know, you are a designer, and you can execute the campaign. But what if I don’t like your Big Idea?” – Something along these lines from a new business lead should have all the red warning signs in your brain blinking like crazy. These are not ways to prove your worth because by sharing your ideas, you have given the client what they want without securing the deal. In short, they can steal your idea and you will never hear from them again.
Tip #3 – Decide who to meet.
If you receive 10 new business leads every week, will you be meeting all of them? It makes sense to meet all of them, afterall who wants to let go the opportunities of getting new projects and earning more money. However, keep in mind that meeting clients are both time-consuming and money-costing if the meeting fails to deliver results. You will be spending time traveling and money on petrol, parking and highway toll. So based on the two tips above, decide on who to meet. Perhaps you can call them to understand more about the brief and project before actually meeting them.
Tip #4 – Schedule your meetings.
You’re a freelancer and you work on your own. So the idea of meeting clients every day is not a productive way of working. For example, you have a morning meeting with your client – you’ll probably wake up, get ready for the meeting, spend time traveling to their office, meet up with the client, spend more time traveling back home (which by then, would be lunch time). Half a day gone with no work done but a brief received. A smart way to overcome this is to schedule all your meetings on alternate days. For myself, I meet clients on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. That way, I have the remaining days to work on the projects I received. And I try to arrange two meetings on the same day and location so that I get to save on traveling expenses and time.
Originally written by Gina Yap Lai Yoong © 2010