Are meetings a necessary evil in your business?
When you see a meeting on your calendar, does your mind immediately get lazy to attend it? Do you secretly wish the meeting was canceled or rescheduled?
I get those feelings with just about every meeting—we can blame our introversion for it.
Recently, there’s been a wave of influencers who say they don’t believe in meetings. For example, people like Tim Ferriss and Seth Godin avoid meetings at all costs. These men say they value their time more than anything, and if meetings threaten to waste their time than they’d rather not have them.
I agree with this philosophy, but I think it’s incomplete without emphasizing the fact that meetings are game-changers, and they’re essential to succeeding in your business.
Ouch! That’s not what you expected to read from an introvert!
As much as I’d like to sit here and tell you how useless meetings are and how you should do everything to avoid them, I can’t.
If I’m honest, I have to tell you that meetings have been a game-changer for me. And I’m 99.8% sure that they can be a game-changer for you too.
If you do meetings right, you’ll earn more projects and make way more money than you ever could without them!
A bad sales call meeting can lose you a future project. A good one will help you sell a project. But a great sales call meeting can help your client understand how valuable you are… forever.
A bad status meeting can make a client question why they hired you. A good one can give your client security. But a great status meeting will give your client peace of mind and even prop you up for a future project with them.
Those are just a couple of examples, but can you see how much of a difference a meeting can make?
People underestimate what great meetings can do for them.
Bad meetings will stand in your way. Good meetings can pave a way. But great meetings move you forward.
I won’t cover how to have a great meeting in this article (you’ll have to wait for that one!), but my aim here is to discuss how meetings will help you grow and win as a freelancer.
Meetings earn you trust.
In every meeting, you’ll either gain or lose trust.
Prospects and clients are continually gauging how much they can trust you. This is completely natural, since you (the freelancer) are either trying to convince them to give you money (in exchange for your services, of course) or you already have their money in hand. If I were them, I’d be constantly gauging the level of trust I have in you, too—especially before and during the project. That’s how it is with business and money.
A client once told me that the facetime I spent with them at in-person meetings set me aside from other consultants and agencies they’d worked with in the past.
(And no, I’m not saying you need to have in-person meetings.)
This client went on to rehire me for another project while other consultants and agencies didn’t make the cut. In this case, meetings made all the difference.
Meetings position you for future projects
Because meetings can earn you trust, meetings also position you to sell a future project with much more ease.
It’s not only meetings, but every interaction with a prospect or client that eases them into hiring you for a future project or referring you to someone they know.
Asking the right questions, providing useful information, and getting stuff done is more than enough to convince prospects and clients to hire you over and over.
The more a client meets with you, the easier it is for them to rehire you. Literally.
Think about it this way: finding another consultant or freelancer is draining.
It’s like when you break up with someone you’ve been with for years. Didn’t you find it sooooo lazy to start dating again? In fact, I’ve noticed that most people would rather date people they already know or exes from their past instead of starting from scratch with someone new.
Weird how that works, huh?
The same thing happens with your clients.
Your client rather hire someone they’re familiar and comfortable with instead of building new relationships.
This is especially true if they’re introverted like us!
Meetings help you make better decisions.
Information exchange happens in every meeting.
But why is this information exchange happening? In every case, information is exchanged to help someone make a better decision.
If you begin to think of meetings as decision-influencers, then you’ll begin to see meetings as opportunities—especially when it comes to selling.
Every meeting is an opportunity to help someone make a better decision about something.
For example, understanding a client’s requirements clearly through a good meeting can help you come up with better pricing. Or it can help you come up with a better or easier solution.
A lunch meeting can help you discover if you and your client are compatible enough to do business together.
Key decisions in any freelance project are mainly influenced by the information provided in meetings.
Think about that for a second.
Clients hire you to help them with their projects. They hire you to give them good sound advice. You’re supposed to influence them into making better decisions.
Having meetings is the best way to influence your clients into making better decisions.
Why did I have to read this?!
Now that you know meetings can earn you trust, position you for a future project, and help you make better decisions, it’s hard to dismiss meetings from your world domination masterplan, isn’t it?
If you plan to dominate the world with your awesomeness, then plan to have meetings along the way. Better yet, plan to make each one of them count!
I’m curious to know what your thoughts are. Share them with me via email or on twitter.