When attempting to land a new client, how you perform during the initial interview could make the difference between getting the job or not. 

Your job during the interview is to show your prospective client that you can help solve their problem. It’s your time to prove you’re the person for the job.

This guide will share tips to help you conduct a successful interview with any new client. We’ll cover the following steps:

  • Do your research.
  • Brainstorm possible questions they’ll ask.
  • Fine-tune your responses.
  • Choose the right setting.
  • Send a confirmation email.
  • Speak well of previous clients.
  • Prepare to discuss your rates.
  • Follow up with your prospect.

See also: how to ask a potential client for a meeting

Do your research

The first step when figuring out how to conduct an effective client interview is to research them beforehand. Check out their website, social media, and other sources to learn as much as you can about them. 

Reading up on your prospect goes a long way toward showing them that you’re familiar with their brand and prepared for the job at hand. 

Pro tip: When doing your research, think of some questions you can ask the client. Beyond impressing prospects, interviews are an excellent opportunity for you to learn more about them and whether they suit your business. 

Brainstorm possible questions they’ll ask

A great way to prepare for a client interview is to brainstorm questions you think they might ask you. 

Read up on the traits and skills that clients will look for in a professional like you, and search for mock interview questions for your niche. This should give you some ideas!

You might also want to ask a friend or family member to do a mock interview with you so you can practice answering these questions out loud. Then you can fine-tune your responses.

Fine-tune your responses

The first interview can be the deciding factor when you’re one of several pros being considered. So do what you can to really smash it!

Hesitating and fumbling at a crucial moment will not impress your potential client, and could even cost you a project. 

That’s why it’s wise to not only brainstorm client questions but also fine-tune your responses so you can give informed and confident answers. 

The more confident you come across, the more you’ll stand out in all the right ways!

Tip: Identify your core strengths that will be most useful for the project and client. Plus, prepare examples of past work you’ve done that align with the client’s needs. 

Use anything you have that proves you’re a great asset to this particular client.

Choose the right setting

If your client interview takes place online (which it probably will), ensure you conduct it somewhere you won’t be interrupted.

Interviewing from your home? Have a plan to keep your kids and pets from barging in or making noise. 

Expecting an Amazon delivery? Either ask the driver to leave the parcel outside or reschedule the delivery for another day. 

Your space should be free from distractions.

It’s also important to be prepared on the day of the interview. Give yourself enough time to get ready. Block off before, and after the interview, so you’re not rushed or late. 

Send a confirmation email

There’s no use in spending ages preparing for an interview that ends up never taking place. Despite your best efforts, the client could be a no-show.

While cancelled meetings are unavoidable, you can often avoid falling victim to a no-show by sending a simple confirmation email. 

A proactive step like this also shows prospects that you understand that they have busy schedules and will offer a client-centric experience from the start. And it doesn’t take much time to do!

Be sure to include:

  • The appointment date and time.
  • Video conference links (if it’s online).
  • Address, if the meeting is in person.
  • Any other relevant information.

Speak well of previous clients

When interviewing with a potential client, your general attitude plays a massive role in determining their thoughts about you. 

Even if you’ve worked with frustrating clients before, it’s best to avoid running your mouth about where or with whom you had issues. Bad-mouthing other clients only reflects poorly on you.

Instead, focus on the positives and calmly explain the challenge, highlighting how it made you grow. 

In fact, you’ll want to remain positive in general. You want the interviewer to see you as a nice addition to their team and someone who’ll have their back.

Keeping up an upbeat attitude will increase your chances of getting on your prospect’s good side.

Prepare to discuss your rates

Money can be an awkward topic to discuss, but it’s an essential part of any client relationship for obvious reasons. Like all professionals, you need to get paid.

It’s best to agree on a cost early to avoid uncomfortable confrontations later. So be prepared to politely but firmly discuss your rates during the interview. 

Tip: Try to get their budget beforehand. If you know your prospect’s budget early, you can save yourself time. If they can’t afford your rates, you can avoid wasting time pursuing them. In this case, the cliché “time is money” is true.

Follow up with your prospect

How you follow up after a client interview can have a huge impact on their decision. You want to express your enthusiasm without seeming too pushy.

So send them an email after the interview. Thank them for their time and mention how you’d be a great fit for their project. 

It’s important to remember that the response time can vary depending on the client. For example, if you spoke to a small company, you’ll likely get a quicker response. 

On the other hand, if you interviewed with a large company, they likely have to go through many levels of approval before making a decision. 

If your prospect already has interviews scheduled with other companies for the same job, they probably won’t give you an answer until all are complete.

Be patient and focus on other work-related tasks in the meantime. 

Things that make a successful interview

The key to conducting a successful client interview is confidence. Be confident in who you are, what you know about the client, and your ability to solve their problems. 

By following the tips in this guide, you’ll soon become an expert at client interviews and well on your way to creating a thriving business!

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