How to create the best first impression?

As a freelancer, we are our own boss – and this boasts its positives and negatives. On one hand, we don’t have to take orders and, to a degree, we can work for who we want and when we want to. On the other hand, it can be a lot of work in that we represent ourselves. Most of the time we don’t have an agent, manager or HR department to represent us and organise all the negotiations. For this reason, it is crucial that when sourcing or receiving new work, we make a great first impression which hopefully lends itself to a long-lasting and effective work relationship. 

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Answer in a Timely Manner
A new client means new business – so strike while the iron’s it! I.E don’t wait several days to reply, try to respond ASAP. Your delay may be the difference between them hiring you or the next freelancer. 
Research the Client
Showing the client that you’re familiar with their work always makes them feel seen and heard. The client will be flattered if you comment on specific elements of their brand and work rather than just give a general compliment. It also shows that you come to meetings prepared and that you care about your potential relationship with them. 
Research the Client’s Competitors
Researching the clients’ competitors goes a step further in not only demonstrating your awareness of their brand but of their field as a whole. It will also help you, most likely, understand their references beforehand so you can bring a unique and educated perspective and creative idea. 
You, Me, Us
Another perk about researching the client’s competitors is being able to clearly demonstrate how your partnership with this client will be beneficial for both of you. When it comes to your pitch, adopting the “You, Me, Us” format is a winner every time. You start off by demonstrating your awareness of the client’s professional present and history, then you explain what your skills are and what you can bring to the table, then finally, you conjoin the two and present how this partnership will be beneficial for both freelancer and client. How could they turn you down!? 
Speak to their strengths and weaknesses
When doing your research on the client, note down what they do well and where they could do better. In demonstrating what you could bring to the table, use their weaknesses as a launching pad for what you provide. For example, if you’re a Graphic Designer who is known for a couple of bright, colourful and successful designs and your client’s brand image is fairly grey and not eye-catching then explain how your touches of colour could bring more attention to the client’s new logo – or whatever the project may be. 
Take notes at the first meeting to show your interest
Taking notes with pen and paper, rather than with a laptop or phone shows you are listening or at least forces you to listen. This will also come in handy when you send follow-up emails as you are able to remember the client’s core desires. 
Make sure Your Online Presence is Clean
Just as you will research the client, the client is very likely to research you. Your online presence needs to demonstrate your craft and hold a professional tone. You should match your website to your social media channels as well. Make a professional profile on whichever social media channels you prefer, or brand your existing personal one.

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