By Annie Kearns
This is the best way to respond when someone you work with overseas wants to set up a face-to-face meeting.
Freelancers: How to Meet With International Clients
You were sitting at home one day, just going through your business email inbox and you suddenly came across an interesting email. The title might have read something like “Would love to meet you.”
Upon opening it, you read that there’s a client that would love to meet with you and talk about your business. They’ve seen your products and or services, and something has drawn them to you. However, just like any good business owner or investor would, they want to meet you in person before they decide to work with you.
As you read on, the email ends by informing you that they are in fact a foreign client. They can’t make it out of the country because they’re tied down with something but they would love to schedule an appointment when you could come to them. This can only mean one thing, pack your bags you’re flying abroad.
What To Do When You Fly Abroad as A Freelancer
But how should you greet them, how should you prepare, what will happen to your business while you’re away?
Conduct a client assessment
Before you get too excited about working with this potential client, find out more about them.
Ask them key specific questions so you can whittle down the reasons for their desire to meet you. You might think that because they wish to meet you face-to-face, that they have pretty much made their mind up and they would like to work with you to some capacity.
You’d be wrong to assume this because some clients don’t see international travel as a big issue. They might fly tens of thousands of miles every year so it’s normal for them. But ask these questions and you’ll know how genuine they are being with you.
- Which product or service that you provide, caught their attention and why?
- Is there something specific they would like to work on with you?
- How deep is their interest, i.e. if all goes well, what kind of sales figures would they be interested in?
- Is this an initial meeting or an official meeting?
- If it’s not the latter, then the meeting can be done via conferencing software such as Zoom or Skype.
- If it is an official meeting, what areas and topics will be discussed?
- Will the meeting be with them personally or with a high-ranking employee such as a member of the C-suite?
This client assessment is vital before you make any major plans to travel potentially thousands of miles on your own dime. It’s important for you as a home-based business, to not become overjoyed.
It’s easy to get mislead and have what seems to be legitimate interest, show itself to be shallow skin deep enthusiasm. Don’t think so little of yourself, act only in the logical realm by replying to their email with these questions.
Set Up for Mail Hiatus
If all goes well with your emails and you are planning on flying to meet with the potential client, you must set your business up for a short hiatus.
Since you’re a home-based business, you might be working purely by yourself or you could have several freelancers working for you as well. On top of this, you’re managing customer queries and your social media accounts.
The first thing you should do is set up a way for your real-world mail to be safely received while you’re away. Take a look at these virtual services for personal and companies and choose the email forwarding option. Not only do you get a real-world address that you can put on your business cards, pamphlets, corporation documents and on your website for that matter.
The mail will be sent to the address whereby their own staff will provide you with a content scan option. The contents will be sent straight to you via email. You can then request to shred the mail if you wish as well a whole raft of other options.
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Inform your customers
By now you should already have a business blog. If not, then you need to get going right now! Using your social media and your business blog, you can inform your customers of your short-term absence.
Write a small post to notify customers that you will be away from the office and or the business is going to be running on a low capacity for a couple of days. Clearly display what services will continue to function such as mail and query messages.
This will give your customers a good enough reason to not get so frustrated when they cannot get a reply back from you or the kind of help they need using your product and or services. Pin the post on your social media so every new visitor to your account can see the news immediately.
Prepare for your meeting
Traveling long distances to meet with clients isn’t an irregular thing, even for small businesses these days. But for a home-based business, the occasion is not something that you will come across too often.
Many home-based businesses regard their domestic economy as the only true consumer pool from which they can earn sustainable growth. If you have been offered a meeting with an international client, you should not waste the opportunity. You could be leaping 2 or 3 spaces ahead of your competition by entering into a foreign market.
Prepare soundly for your meeting. Get all your products and services set up to be in your presentation. Maybe the client wants something specific, in that case, compile relevant information, documents, statistics, facts and videos to a particular product or service.
It should take you a minimal amount of time to set up when you arrive in the room. Have your presentation ready in portable mode as well, such as saved and ready on your tablet or phone. You never know the client might be laid back and would rather go for a cup of coffee or dinner rather than meet with you in a boardroom.
Be Careful When You Meet With International Clients
Take this opportunity to meet with an international client as an opportunity to jump ahead of your rivals. Just be sure they’re not wasting your time and are serious about meeting you face-to-face, so you can take the appropriate measures for putting your business on a brief hiatus to your domestic market.