The following post is an excerpt from my new e-Book series, How to Become an e-Learning Freelancer. The three volumes in the series are designed to be easy-to-use, practical guides to getting your freelance e-Learning career off the ground. Learn more here!
If you’ve been following along in the Succeeding as an e-Learning Freelancer series, you’re familiar with how much preparation and set-up needs to happen before meeting with your first bona fide client. It’s time for that hard work to pay off!
Let’s assume that you’ve created a strong branding kit, and found a potential client from an e-Learning job resource (you’ll find a list of those in my “Sales Pipeline” post). After some initial dialogue with the prospective client, you perform a high-level qualification and determine that the client has the potential to be a “good client.” Best of all, they’re interested in hiring you! The next phase in the sales pipeline is “Meet / Discuss,” so it’s finally time to roll up your sleeves and get to know the details of the client’s needs and make a final decision about whether you’re a good fit for each other.
So this week, I’d like to talk about the steps you can take to make sure that your first in-depth discussion with a new client goes well.
The Meet / Discuss Phase
From the sales pipeline perspective, you’re at the “Meet / Discuss” phase. At this point, you haven’t won the deal yet, but you’re close, and your objective is to spend time with your client discussing the detailed needs of the project. This phase is incredibly important, because it’s where you’ll be defining and understanding the client’s expectations—and it’s also your last chance to decline working with them. Think of it this way: If this were a romantic relationship, the “Meet / Discuss” stage is where you would be deciding whether or not to get engaged to your partner—and if you do, the next step is a proposal!
Corny jokes aside, the reality is that a lot rides on the first meeting with a new client. Your objectives for the meeting are to find answers to two important questions:
- Am I confident that I can handle everything the client is asking me to do?
- Do I think that the client will be an effective business partner for me to work with?
For me, the key way I keep my “Meet / Discuss” opportunities focused is by remembering that this is a more detailed version of the “Qualify” stage. This is the point at which you’ll discover how much work is actually involved, how clear a vision of success your client has, and how quickly you’ll need to work.
[This topic continues in my e-Book series, How to Become an e-Learning Freelancer.]