When is the kick-off meeting? This is the first meeting with your client. It is the meeting where you can get the details of the project, meet the client and get to know him, and create a good first impression. You should never go wrong for the first meeting since first impressions last. Also, you have to make sure that you will please your client by being professional and by showing him that you are efficient with your job. Hence, you have to prepare for this meeting and make sure that things will turn out well. Your chances of getting the job 100% sure also depend on the kick-off meeting. Do not be so assured that just because you were called to meet a client that you will get the job. They might be merely scouting for the right designer at the moment. Show them that they do not need to waste time for other designers because the right one is already in front of them. How can you do that?
Well, we have here some tips that could help you. These tips are for your preparations before the meeting and also things you need to bear in mind while in the meeting. You might say, “Wait. I’m a freelancer designer. I have online meetings, is this necessary?” The answer is yes. Not all clients do online meetings; some of them want to talk to you in person. Of course, this is applicable for local clients. Unless your client is willing to buy you a plane ticket just to speak to you about a project but that would be impractical when you can discuss things online. Anyway, for this post, we would be giving you tips on what you should do to get ready for a kick-off meeting with the client. Here they are:
1. Know the company.
It is important to know the company first before you go to a meeting. This would let you know what the company wants. This way, you will know what to present that would suit their taste and you will also know what they are looking for in a designer. You will also know what to say during the meeting. It wouldn’t be good if you just go to the meeting without having a background about the company. You might be uttering things that are no longer of their interest and you might also present something that is not suitable to their industry. So, make sure that you research about the company. Check their website and read something about them.
2. Prepare your portfolio.
Do not attend a meeting without bringing your portfolio. That would be like going to a battle without bringing armours or taking an exam without bringing a pen. Be sure that you have updated your portfolio and arranged it according to how it can fit to the niche of the client whom you will have a meeting with. Your portfolio can be both hard copy and an online portfolio. For online portfolios, have a pdf file or you can show it using a tablet or an iPad. If it is hard copy, say something about your projects while they are flipping through the pages of your portfolio. For sure, your client will ask about some projects that you have already worked on. So, be ready with the portfolio so you can show them what you have done.
3. Know meeting details.
It would be important to know the meeting details which include the date, time and venue. You have to know all of this before going to a meeting. If you have set the meeting, make sure that you have checked on the schedule of the client, too. Ask him if he can meet you on a certain time and date. Another thing, you should also prepare the agenda if you were the one who set the meeting.
4. Bring your business card.
Well, for businessmen, it is a must to bring the business card all the time. But when you attend a meeting, you have to bring it too. You can give it to other people present to the meeting. It can be a good time to promote your business. See to it that you have a well designed business card that would also show your design skills but do not overdo it.
5. Be well groomed.
Of course, this one is very necessary. Look professional by wearing decent clothes. Be well groomed so that you will look presentable to the client. You should prepare clothes that you can wear when you attend meetings with clients. Not all clients will just have an online meeting with you. Others would really want to personally talk to you. Make sure you are ready for this.
6. Have a positive attitude.
Facing people and transacting business with them would be a lot successful if you have a positive attitude. See to it that you will be able to act well. Think before you speak. Greet people when you arrive and be courteous with your words. Act as a professional. Observe proper etiquette all the time. Turn off your cell phone while in the meeting and be sure to be attentive to what other people are saying.
7. Listen carefully.
When you are already in the meeting proper, listen carefully. This is one way of showing respect to those who are there. Also, you will not like it if you will be left out while everyone else is talking about a certain topic. How could you be involved if you will not listen to what is being discussed? Be sure to listen carefully so you will know the details of the project. You can also take notes to make sure you will not miss anything. Check How to Attain Effective Note-taking in Client Meetings
8. Ask questions.
You will regret it if you will not clarify everything during a meeting. You can be ready by preparing your questions. There are lots of things you need to know about a project. Jot them down before you leave and ask them during the meeting if it is not yet tackled. Be sure also not to ask something that was already mentioned.
9. Anticipate questions and prepare answers.
Aside from preparing questions for your client, you should also anticipate what questions your client will be asking you. This would be necessary especially if your client is a big company and they are still looking for the right person to work for them. It would be similar to being interviewed for a job.
10. Know what to say after the meeting.
When the meeting is over, know what the right thing to say. Say thank you for their time and let them know that you happy to meet them. You can also say something like “I really learned a lot about the project” or you can also let them know the next steps you would do like sending them a proposal about the project. Be sure not to forget the handshake.
It's Your Turn Now
Your kick-off meeting for a client would really be important. So, make sure that you make the most of it. You can take note of the tips we have given you above to help you. Or you can also try to figure out other ways to make your first meeting successful. If you think that we missed something from the list above, we would appreciate it if you add something through the comment section below.