Lisa Robbin Young

How To Host An Effective Discovery Session

Image via Unsplash (CC0 License)

You’re meeting with a potential client in person for the first time, and you want things to go well. This meeting could be a dealbreaker for them - if they’re impressed by what they see, they’re highly likely to become a happy, loyal client

As a freelancer, you need to do everything in your power to convince them that you are their best choice. Want to make a great first impression? Read on for a few tips!

Do you need a professional setting?

Should you host the meeting in your house? Probably not. Can it be done in a coffee shop? Yes, but it’s not usually ideal. 

Instead, you'll need a professional setting that wows the prospect and gives a positive reflection of your brand. This doesn’t mean you have to rent out a massive office - unless that's what your brand demands. Could you imagine the CEO of a company like Apple holding a meeting with a potential client inside Starbucks?

Consider the brand story of your business and select a location that fits.

Places like Bell Works (in the Chicago area) have coworking facilities - a large office area with multiple desks or rooms you can pay for. You may only need to pay for a few hours worth of use, but it gives you a professional setting for the meeting. 

Right away, you look like a freelance that means business. The client feels more confident as you look like you know what you’re doing. Compare this to a meeting in your house and you create a completely different image. 

Arrive well before the client

You never ever want to keep a client waiting. Always be the first one to arrive. This is seen as a power move as well as a respectful one. If the client turns up and sees you sitting down waiting for them, it almost puts them on the back foot. Subconsciously, they feel like they owe you something because they made you wait. 

It’s also a challenge for your brand image if you turn up late - especially if your clients are from an older generation. A client that has to wait is not going to be a happy one. Before you’ve even uttered a word, they’ve got negative thoughts about the meeting. It’s hard, but not impossible to turn them around after this. 

Bring your research

Lastly, no matter what freelance services you provide, you’ll always need to research the potential client before you meet them. This is particularly important if they want you to work on a specific project. They’ll mention what this is before the meeting, so you can do as much research as possible. 

Bring your research to the meeting to showcase what you’ve done. It’s a very proactive way of approaching things. You can provide samples of work to show what you’ll do if you take the project. For example, imagine you’re a graphic designer and the client wants you to reinvent their brand image with new logos, etc. Research everything and come to the meeting with a few logo designs and text samples. It shows them that you know what you’re doing and are extremely professional. 

Follow these tips and you’ll come across as a professional freelancer who knows their stuff and is prompt and reliable. You’re putting good thoughts into the prospect's head, increasing the chances of sealing the deal and creating a strong start to a lasting client relationship. 

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