How to be more confident in client meetings

Yesterday, I had a first time client meeting that included a company CFO, the marketing person that recommended me for the job and a graphic designer handling the logo makeover.  As I left the meeting, I had to reflect on the lack of nerves I had during the entire experience.  Just a couple of years ago, I would have had serious stress preparing for this meeting and hidden panic when speaking.  I would have grilled my colleagues on what I should focus on, what I should wear and how much technical information I should share.  Four years earlier, I was in a similar meeting with another big contracting company. I was so uncomfortable but did get through it with an “I’m faking it ’til I make it” motto.  I didn’t enjoy the experience and even though I landed the job, I was very insecure and believed deep down I was out of my league.

What’s different now? My confidence level and my preparedness.  That’s it.  I have more confidence in selling my services and I know my shit. Most importantly, I have processes to back it up.

Here’s how I prepare for meetings and stay confident:

  • I get as much discovery done before a meeting as I can.  Any new client I meet/work with MUST fill out my project application.  If they don’t, it’s a red flag and I don’t work with them.  If someone can’t fill out an online form, it’s likely they can’t figure out how to send website content either.
  • I do my homework with the information they give me.  I review their website, run it through XML-Sitemaps.com, Built With and Whois.   I also review the competitors they’ve listed, websites they like and everything they’ve shared.  I print sheets and put in a folder with their company name on it.  I look prepared.
  • I have a plan in mind for their website, but I describe the details in generic, non- techie terms.
  • I let them do most of the talking and I listen.  I really listen to the customer.
  • I leave early for the meeting. Yesterday, I was 40 minutes early to my appointment.  I stopped at a coffee shop nearby to review my notes.
  • I get to the appointment location 5 minutes early.  I once had a client tell me, “if you’re on time, you’re late”.  Be early.  I thought this was good advice.
  • I lay off the coffee.  Only one cup that morning so I’m not too amped-up.
  • I remind myself I’m good at what I do.  I believe I have the experience that to help them reach their web design goals.  But if I don’t feel like I’m right for the job, I trust my gut.  I never get in over my head.

Being prepared and having a system for meeting preparation will help you have more successful meetings.  Your confidence will shine through.

Have you ever been nervous at a client meeting?  What has helped you conquer your meeting nerves?  What do you do to prepare for client meetings?

RESOURCES: Entreprenuer – Yes, You Can Appear More Confident When Meeting a Client

 

About WebCami

Cami MacNamara has been designing websites since 2002 from her home office in Seattle, Washington. Her career started as a way to be a stay-at-home mom. Certification soon followed and persistence paid off. Cami has designed over 400 websites and wants to share what she learned along the way. Look for her at WordCamp Seattle.Follow: WebCami.com / Twitter / Instagram