Meeting a Client for the First Time

When you first meet a client, how do you go about doing things? Do you go straight in with layouts, or do you take it casual? Everyone has a different way of doing things so here are a few steps that you might like to try.

Don’t Rush into It

The last thing you want to do is scare clients off with lots of jargon, especially if they barely know you. It’s good to show your enthusiasm for the job in hand but taking things slowly is a good way to start. Especially in the first meeting, they might just want to meet up for a coffee and just get to know you a bit better, as you will be spending a decent amount of time in touch with them as you are working on their brief.

Don’t take a Laptop!

Again this depends, if you know the client is very ‘techie’ then this might be a decent ploy, but if they come across as not knowledgeable in this area then taking a laptop is not going to immerse them. It’s best if you just take a small notepad, just A5 (or any size that suits you) for some jottings.

Be sure to be on Time!

Would seem pretty obvious but it’s a major ‘turn off’ (please don’t misunderstand!) to the client if you are late, even by a couple of minutes. If something makes you late, be sure to inform the client as soon as possible. If your bus does not turn up and you give them warning, I’m sure they wont get annoyed. We all know what buses are like!

Dress Smart

This does not necessarily mean wear a suit, but try to present yourself nicely. If your ‘style’ is wearing suits, do, but if it’s more jeans + t-shirt then wear that, nothing worse than trying to present yourself as something you’re not. Stick to what you usually wear, but make sure you look half presentable. Clean, non-creased clothes usually go down well.

Avoid Jargon

Start rambling on at them about PHP, HTML, this awesome thing called jQuery, recursive functions and you’ve got a problem. Your job is to simplify what you do down to explain it to the client. This does not mean treat them like complete ‘thickos’ but don’t use technical terms, you will achieve two things. Firstly, the client wont get a word you say and secondly you’ll just look like a smart arse.

Firm Handshake!

This might sound stupid, but I used to captain a local football team and whenever I shook hands with the players / ref they would always do a really weak handshake and it really annoyed me! Make sure you actually grasp their hand firmly instead of being limp like a fish!

4 Comments on "Meeting a Client for the First Time"

  1. Anne says:

    A few more tips on the firm handshake (and I totally agree with everything else you mentioned):

    This one’s for the girls: I have found that as a woman, clients respond much better to me when I maintain my feminine handshake and don’t grasp their hands like I’m a guy. That would be a faux pas (for the girls).

    When I greet a client for the first time, I also look them straight in the eye with a sincere smile on my face.

    Remember to switch off your cellphone, and when the client is speaking to you, make eye-contact and pay attention, even when you’re writing notes, make sure to look up and show an interest in what the client is saying. There is nothing worse than looking uninterested or being distracted when the client is speaking to you.

  2. MeetingWave says:

    People’s natural instinct is to help. It comes natural to us. When you see someone in need, the first thing you want to do is give him or her a hand in any way you can, right?

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  3. Agreed with everything. Eye contact is the most important.

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