Lock up the Tech Guy… and Other Ways Not to Scare off Your Clients

Tech GuyI have been writing on a freelance basis and have gotten to sit in on some rather interesting meetings with clients. I am no stranger to client meetings – I have successfully pitched multi-million dollar campaigns to clients, but nothing prepared me for what I saw this week when I sat in on a pitch meeting.

The meeting was between a small Internet development company and a business coach. Being the web company’s writing consultant, they thought I could lend some credibility to the subject of blogging, so I went, hoping that I could add some value to what was sure to be a mind-blowing session. Instead, the meeting was overtaken by the SEO expert, who was as loud as he was pushy. Horrified, I watched the client’s head practically spin as the SEO guy argued that what the client wanted was absolutely wrong.

Admittedly, I am a stickler for etiquette, but I also feel that there is a fine line between assertive and rude. So, as a public service, here a list of how to hold a pitch meeting without scaring away your client.

  • Keep the pressure and drama to a minimum. Let’s remember that the clients are always right, even if you don’t agree. Why? They’re paying you.
  • Keep the geek-speak to a minimum. Yes, this means to keep the tech guy as far away from the clients as possible, unless the clients are into that sort of thing. The clients don’t really need to know the technicalities of what you do and why, unless they specifically ask. They’re experts at what they do, which is why they pay you to do what you do.
  • Keep it friendly. You can’t go wrong with a meeting over coffee or lunch. The clients’ defenses will be down and everyone involved will be in a good mood.
  • Do your homework before the client arrives. Sure, it’s cute to ask what the clients have implemented in the past and why it didn’t work, but don’t you think they will see through that and wonder why you’re not better prepared? Respect your clients’ time.
  • Learn to think like a CEO. You’re asking the clients to make one hell of an investment, so learn to speak their language. Sell your work using a business case rather than a creative argument.
  • Admit when you don’t know all the answers. Clients are more likely to hire the agencies that say, “We have the people that will help you figure out the solutions,” rather than those who say, “Here’s what wrong with you. Let’s fix it.”

Sara Barton is a copywriter, social media strategist, and avid blogger who is in search of her next opportunity. Contact her via twitter, LinkedIn, or her blog.

No Responses to “Lock up the Tech Guy… and Other Ways Not to Scare off Your Clients”

Post a Comment