Closing your first client is always the hardest, and the good news is it gets dramatically easier. We’ve outlined a list of five actions you can take to not only close that first client, but make sure you’re set up for success in the process.
1. Gain a deep understanding of the client and their pain points
In order to showcase your value, companies want to know that you understand what they’re selling, who they are selling it to, and what drives them to purchase the product or service. Prior to your call, review their offerings, look at client testimonials, identify titles of key decision makers, and understand how the company is positioning the use-case to their audiences. Not only will it impress the interviewer, but your call will be much more productive given you’ll be able to dive deeper than just getting a surface level understanding of what the company does.
2. Ask great questions, and ask them in your area of expertise
Asking great questions during your call does a few things:
- If you can ask thoughtful questions in an area of your expertise, you showcase your experience indirectly. Ask how they are thinking about XYZ (your area of expertise). Keep asking until you get to a point where they don’t have a great answer. They might turn it around on you!
- It shows you’ve done your homework, and they like that you’re interested in them.
- It gets them talking. People like talking, especially about themselves and their business.
- You’ll learn a lot about their business and specifically areas they need help (hint: this is key!). Ask them what keeps them up at night. Ask them where their biggest challenges lie.
3. Come prepared with examples of your work
The best way for a company to see the quality of your work is to provide a portfolio or samples of your work. They can be provided in advance of the interview by including a web link, PDF attachment, portfolio, or redirect to a previous client’s website. If you don’t have samples, that’s fine - bullet out tangible examples of accomplishments in your previous roles. Make sure the impact to the company is clearly outlined so your client can really visualize your contributions.
4. Communicate your value and provide data-driven examples
Building off #2, there is no better way to impress your interviewer than to provide data to back up your claims. Did you help a client increase revenue by 12% YoY? Share it. How about you built a workflow that improved team member efficiency by 31 minutes per day? Tell them. Providing specific key metrics for success will show that you’re driven by results. Take the time to outline three key results you impacted. Weave these into conversation when asked to provide concrete examples of your value.
5. Ensure culture and expectations are aligned
Not every role will be a good fit, and that’s okay. Prior to your interview, outline what you’re looking for in a client. Then, develop follow-up questions that help you better understand if the company aligns with your expectations. It’s important to remember that working together is a mutual relationship. Your success and happiness is equally as important. Further, you carry immense value and you need clients that see that. Ask what their budget is for the project. Get an idea if it’s in the ballpark for something you’d accept. If it’s not a good fit, take the time to process and respectfully decline moving forward. While this opportunity may not be the best fit, the connection may lead to future relationships.
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