Ways To Ensure a Successful First Meeting With Your Client

Preston Bailey Blog, Chocolate Truffles


Dear Readers:

As I mentioned yesterday, I am dedicating the next few posts to sharing my ideas of how to walk through the client relations process,  from the first call and meeting to being hired, to the design process and execution of the event.

Yesterday, I shared the Five essential things to do when a potential client calls. Today, I will discuss what to do in your first meeting.


In that first meeting, the client has a few things on their mind.


Can you do the job? Can you work within their budget (even though most don’t have a real understanding of the cost of things), and most importantly, do they like you?


Here are a few tips to make the first meeting a successful one:


Be a Gracious Host: Treat clients as you would guests in your home. Offer them wine, tea, or coffee and have pastries, chocolates, fruits, and nuts laid out.


Give Your Undivided Attention: This is essential. Turn off all of your devices, and under no circumstance should you accept another call. This is your chance to showcase your ability to pay attention, understand, and support your client.


Don’t Just Give Face Time: Actively listen to your client.  Ask questions and for clarification when necessary while also gently addressing any objections and concerns. Be careful when deciding to drop the names of other clients or jobs you have done as this may work against you.  In their mind, their event is the most important event you’ve ever done.


Think About Your Wording: Asking, “What is your budget?” is the worst thing you can ask. Yes, you get a sense of what they would like to spend, but it places them in the position of giving you a number and then holding you to it. Many times I have heard, “But Preston, I told you my budget from the start.”  I often think, “Yes, but you never mentioned you wanted the world for that budget.”


Be Clear: Avoid making complicated statements, explain the process, and answer questions in a clear and honest way. If they insist on talking about money, tell them that you plan to study their event and will get back with them with a written estimate that will include ranges which you would prefer to discuss in person.


Follow-Up Correctly:  A small bouquet of flowers with a Thank You note saying how much you enjoyed meeting them and look forward to working with them is a nice gesture. There is nothing wrong with showing your clients that you are very interested in them.


Questions: Can you work with an “exact” budget? Do you think it is too much to send flowers to a prospective new client? What are some special things you do for new clients?






Monday: How to discuss money with clients.


(Photo courtesy of Pinterest)
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  • Michael Castro

    Great article! I never thought of sending a bouquet of flowers to clients. Love the idea! I mean who doesn’t like flowers? Not to mention a hand-written thank you to boot. Thank you Preston for inspiring us to go further then we imagine.

  • http://www.amartiabellydance.com Amartia Dance

    Another great article. Exact budget is always hard. As you said, sometimes what a client wants and what their budget allows don’t always match. I offer numerous packages and customization options so I try to please clients as much as I can within reason. I don’t think that sending flowers is too much at all. I always send a follow up/ thank you note but sending something more sounds like a fabulous idea! Keep these posts coming!

  • http://www.silverleafweddingdesigns.com Navjot Kaur

    Great post. I have worked with exact budgets but then I lay out the choices and involve them in that process so that later they do not come back and say that you should have made us aware of what it would be like taking away something from the design concept. I always make list of thing from most important to least important and this process helps me to deliver within client’s budget. I like the idea of hand written Thank You Note along with flowers or choclates. I think it is warm gesture and who does not like human compassion.

  • http://YOURWEBSITE pam ramirez

    when I got married I went to scratch cake shop. they had beautiful Antique table with chairs and petite fours of the cake I was interested in. They served coffee with it in antique china. I felt like a princess! of course the cake almost cost as much as the wedding!lol but it was the best cake I’ve ever eaten and will probaly ever eat


    Thanks Prescott.Very helpful piece.

  • liamoorefullcircleeventidesign

    While I’ve never sent a bouquet of flowers to a potential client, I embrace the idea. I always send hand written thank you notes letting them know how much I loved meeting them. I’m considering sending coffee gift card in the future as well!