Receiving that heart-lifting email from a prospective client requesting an initial meeting to discuss how you can support their business needs, can be bitter sweet.
Of course you’re delighted to be in with a chance of landing this awesome client, but the initial stages that go along with it can leave you nervous, feeling unprepared and lacking confidence.
Whether it’s a phone call, video call or face-to-face meeting, there are techniques you can use to overcome fear and land that all-important client.
It all comes down to being prepared.
But let’s break that down a little …
1. Do your research
Knowing who your prospective client is before the big day, is absolutely crucial. Without this knowledge, it would be like going in blind – which is part of the reason some Virtual Assistants have excessive first meeting nerves.
Start by doing a Google search on their name and / or business.
Hopefully this should bring up their dedicated website, but it should also provide some social media profiles including a LinkedIn account, as well as any newsworthy items.
Now take it step by step and write down key pieces of information from each.
- What they do
- Size of their business
- How long they’ve been operational
- Their background
- Their client / customer type
- Do they have a blog? If so, what do they write about and how often?
- Do they have a client / customer mailing list sign-up form?
Their social media profiles:
- What profiles do they have?
- How active are they?
- How often do they broadcast?
- What type of information do they share, and in what format?
- Do they engage with others?
- How engaged are their audience?
- Do they use it for networking?
Gathering this information will give you a much better understanding of their business, which could help with knowing what kind of support they’ll need in advance.
2. Know you and your offering
Sounds silly perhaps. But even though you obviously know all about yourself and what services you offer, when asked by prospects to give an overview of yourself, it’s amazing how many VA’s stumble.
And it’s simply because you’ve not rehearsed it recently.
So before any meeting, remind yourself of your experience, skills and services.
- How long have you been a Virtual Assistant?
- What made you set up your own VA business?
- What did you do before – what’s your background?
- What’s your skill set – are you an expert in WordPress, payroll, newsletters, etc.?
- Are there any services you don’t offer?
- Do you have capacity to take on new clients?
The final point may seem strange, but remember people like people who are in demand.
So whilst you probably do want this new client – particularly in those early days in business – you also don’t want to come across as too needy.
So it’s all about getting the balance right.
How do you go about expressing your desire to take them on – i.e. having capacity – without looking like you’ve not got enough work?
Again, it’s all in the preparation.
If you’ve thought about this question beforehand, you’ll be able to answer with confidence.
The one I tend to default to – which is probably the most appealing to that potential client – is that I explain that since I’d love to work with them, I’ll manage deadlines and deliveries from my end. Assuring them that they’ll always receive a first-class service regardless.
You could also say that you are fortunate enough to have a trusted Associate who supports your business. So whilst you would (of course) take full responsibility for their needs, your Associate does manage some of your other Client’s tasks as and when needed.
The point is to think about this question and answer it in a way that will appeal to your prospective client.
3. Perfect your closing pitch
The final piece to the overcoming-first-meeting-nerves puzzle is to have a closing message prepared.
You want them to choose you as their VA, so what can you say to push them in that direction – particularly important if they’re having conversations with a few different VA’s.
So before finishing the meeting or call, summarise why you are the best VA for them. And importantly, why you would like to work with them.
Something like …
“Thanks so much for your time today. I now fully understand the type of support you need, and l hope I’ve succeeded in assuring you that I have the experience and expertise to meet those requirements.
Let me just say, I’d very much like the opportunity to work with you – it’s an industry I thoroughly enjoy and I’d love to be a part of your continued growth and success.
I’ll follow up with an email outlining everything we’ve discussed, but of course allow you some time talk with other Virtual Assistants if needed.
If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch – by email or phone – otherwise, I look forward to hearing from you soon.”
Then don’t forget to send the follow-up email – that could be the clincher if you write it persuasively!
Taking time upfront to prepare for any initial meeting is vital if you want to be successful.
Do you have any other tips?