5 Things I Learnt from my First Client Meeting
A week ago, I went to my first actual wedding client meeting! I did a wedding before but it was all online since theyre not from the city. I did a week's worth of research 24 hours prior. It was like, preparing to meet your boyfriend's parents but thrice as nerve wracking! Haha!
Long story short, I signed them and danced as if I was the only customer in the coffee shop. Haha! More on this later but for now, I want to write about the things I learnt, both from research and my experience. Im not sure if I'm in the position to talk about this as an advice but I'm writing more so that I could have something to go back to in the future and if this happens to help you as well, then yay!
So first things first, here are the things I brought with me:
My laptop for portfolio
Pen for notetaking and filling out forms
Client File Folder & Paperwork (forms, collections, etc)
Study notebook (my notes from my research on what to dooo omg haha!)
1. Come prepared.
Show them that youre prepared and that you appreciate them. You can never be overprepared! I brought my laptop and I didnt even open it but Im so glad I did. I also put together a portfolio and printed all the files necessary including a client information worksheet that they got to fill out!
Also, finalize information! I initially planned to meet them at a coffee shop Ive been to twice because I knew there were lots of space and the ambiance is great. But only when I was driving there and opened up Google Maps that I found that they are renovating and will be closed permanently! So always always double check information.
This one goes without saying but come at least 15 minutes early! The last thing that you want is for them to wait for you and you’ll come inside running and then laying your papers out. Uh oh, just a no. Haha! Respect their time and be grateful for the fact that they considered you and that they trust you and your services.
2. It is about them.
ASK QUESTIONS. How did they meet, who showed interest first, how did he propose (this one gets me alllll the time! I NEED TISSUE.) But yea, make it about them! Make them tell stories! Dont overwhelm them with the technicals or the contract or the package unless they ask.
Something I wish I did more was make them talk about their wedding and how the timeline is going to be. I mean I asked but yea I wish I asked MORE! Haha! Ask necessary questions such as “Are you going to be getting ready in the same building? Will the bridesmaids get ready with you? How many guests are you expecting?” and girl, take notes! I had a printed file exactly for taking notes that will go into their client information folder so everything is organized! #justvirgothingz.
Also, I dont think it would be a good idea to take notes with your phone. Or get your phone out at all. Haha! And when taking notes, do it sporadically. Dont have your eyes and hands glued to the paper the whole time. Oki?
3. Your clients are just people too!
I know, too obvious! But ahh, when my nervousness took over I forgot about this. They come in and oh what am I gonna do? What am I supposed to talk about? I was so nervous after the first 3 minutes of small talk that I literally laid out my collections. Something I wish I didnt do! Haha! But yea, we all learn. I mean, they didnt seem to mind but looking back right now, um what was I doing?
So yea. Dont be nervous! Before they are your clients, they are human beings just like you! Chill! Keep the meeting carefree and more conversational.
And possibly, after a few minutes of stories and gathering information, ask them nicely, “would you like me to show you…”
4. Your services isnt the best thing you can offer them.
When they come to meet you, more often than not they already have an idea of your price point and they have already seen samples of your work online. One thing that stuck with me from the many “tips for meeting your clients for the first time” videos that I watched is that they are meeting you for you. They are choosing your personality.
This was my first wedding client meeting and thinking about it, they are not only choosing someone who will take their photos. They are choosing someone who is going to follow them around for almost 10 hours on one of the most hectic and biggest days of their lives.
The best thing you can offer them isnt your packages. They can get that from anywhere else really, but when you offer your authentic quirky self and a heart that is really passionate to serve, that, my friend, is the best thing you could give them.
5. It all adds up to the experience.
This one is in addition to my previous point. I think the coffee shop being closed was a good thing because it redirected me to another coffee shop thats maybe even better. It was rather small but the ambiance is just as nice and I think it fits my brand perfectly. I did my hair and put on a bit makeup just to show them I value them and I want to look as presentable as possible. This also gives them the impression that I’m serious haha! I just want to be taken seriously despite my age.
The location, how you show up, what you’re wearing, how you greet them. It’s part of the client experience. They expect your services but what they dont expect is the experience they get when they choose you. It’s about how you make them feel!
They’ll have a different feeling if you meet at a home studio, or at a starbucks instead of a local coffee shop that matches your brand. Theyll feel different when you show up in yoga pants vs smart casual vs when you show up in full on business suit. Haha! Please dont do that. It’s all part of the experience so be smart.
I always keep this in mind and I want it to be the number one on my priority list. I dont want the people that trusts me to take their photos feel like just another date in my calendar. I want it to be a friendly relationship and I always want them to feel great.
So there! Those are the five things I learnt and what I hope to do better next time.
I was pretty confident and put together but there were still areas where I was as confused as them but Im giving myself the grace because to be honest, it wasnt bad for a first time meeting! Just next time, I'll be more certain of my process and what to do next because girl omg when they asked if they were supposed to give a deposit (although I know that I do indeed need a 50% deposit lol) I was like, "what, you wanna pay now?" like a child being offered candy. OMG hahahaha
But yay! The most rewarding was that handshake that signified the deal. They were also very sweet and told me how much they liked my style. Im so looking forward to meeting again on their wedding day! So excited for those two.
After they left, I had to take a moment to process what just happened and then I was dancing and squealing I probably weirded out the other people at the cafe. I called my mom, too of course!
ALSO. The biggest shoutout to the sweetest barista on earth! If you're ever downtown Edmonton, come give Credo Coffee a visit. Turlough gave me the biggest high five and gave me off-the-menu coffee to toast for my win! I love people! I felt so spoiled by the universe that day. Thank you, Turlough. The world needs more people like you and it really meant so much how you celebrated with me! (I may or may not have cried when I got home lol)