The first interaction with a new client feels almost like a first date. It involves a lot of doing some research, fact-finding, checking for professional rapport, and understanding the scope of the job.
Like a first date, there might be a lot of unease as each party is still trying to figure out how exactly this relationship is going to work. Things like: Are they looking for something long-term, or a brief engagement? Does everyone have similar or complementary ways of operating and communicating? How much are they willing to invest in the partnership? And do you want to see each other again?
A few tricks and tips can however help ease the tension and make these interactions easier.
Understand the ask. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of the task at hand, your desired role, and key players on the team so you can plan accordingly.
It’s ok to talk money and budget—even before the call if needed. There’s no use wasting everyone’s time if you’re not in the same ballpark.
Ask Questions: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s important to have clarity.
Listen well. Make sure the client feels like they’ve gotten their point across—and that you’re not giving away the goods for free.
Get all the details so you can price accordingly. Are there many rounds of edits? How many contacts will you be dealing with? Is there travel or other expenses involved? And don’t underestimate yourself!
Send a follow-up email that outlines the project discussed as well as next steps.