As I mentioned yesterday, I am dedicating the next few posts to sharing my ideas of how to walk through the client relations process, from the first call and meeting to being hired, to the design process and execution of the event.
In that first meeting, the client has a few things on their mind.
Can you do the job? Can you work within their budget (even though most don’t have a real understanding of the cost of things), and most importantly, do they like you?
Here are a few tips to make the first meeting a successful one:
Be a Gracious Host: Treat clients as you would guests in your home. Offer them wine, tea, or coffee and have pastries, chocolates, fruits, and nuts laid out.
Give Your Undivided Attention: This is essential. Turn off all of your devices, and under no circumstance should you accept another call. This is your chance to showcase your ability to pay attention, understand, and support your client.
Don’t Just Give Face Time: Actively listen to your client. Ask questions and for clarification when necessary while also gently addressing any objections and concerns. Be careful when deciding to drop the names of other clients or jobs you have done as this may work against you. In their mind, their event is the most important event you’ve ever done.
Think About Your Wording: Asking, “What is your budget?” is the worst thing you can ask. Yes, you get a sense of what they would like to spend, but it places them in the position of giving you a number and then holding you to it. Many times I have heard, “But Preston, I told you my budget from the start.” I often think, “Yes, but you never mentioned you wanted the world for that budget.”
Be Clear: Avoid making complicated statements, explain the process, and answer questions in a clear and honest way. If they insist on talking about money, tell them that you plan to study their event and will get back with them with a written estimate that will include ranges which you would prefer to discuss in person.
Follow-Up Correctly: A small bouquet of flowers with a Thank You note saying how much you enjoyed meeting them and look forward to working with them is a nice gesture. There is nothing wrong with showing your clients that you are very interested in them.
Questions: Can you work with an “exact” budget? Do you think it is too much to send flowers to a prospective new client? What are some special things you do for new clients?
Monday: How to discuss money with clients.
(Photo courtesy of Pinterest)