Being able to build rapport with a potential client at an initial meeting is something all VAs are hoping for.

If you have a great first meeting and have ‘that feeling’ that you can work well together, that’s a healthy sign for the longevity of your working relationship. So how do you get to that stage? What needs to happen during the meeting for you to shake hands at the end and look forward to your next communications as the client and Virtual Assistant?

How to build rapport with a potential client?

There are a few things that you can do to build rapport with a potential client, here are 6 traits I practice when I’m meeting with a potential client. As I live in a remote regional town, the best way for me to meet is via Skype or FaceTime. So I have a 2-dimensional view of my potential client, therefore, I need to work harder at building rapport.

Find common ground – do you have connections in common; where they referred to you by them? For me, this is how the vast majority of my interstate and international clients find their way to me. But there is also social media, especially Linkedin. You always search a potential new client anyway, don’t you? Linkedin will show mutual connections and perfect for breaking the ice.

Be the expert – If you’re meeting with a potential client that you know is seeking help with a task that you know nothing about; you can’t be the expert if you don’t know the subject. Your only option here is to be up front (although if they mentioned this in earlier communications with you. They may well wonder why they are meeting with you in the first place, and this doesn’t do much for the following point, demonstrate trust. I can’t stress enough that when you have that first contact via the phone or the web that you have a potential client sheet on hand so you can ask all the right questions, to begin with, and therefore make a determination whether or not they are going to be the ideal client for you.

Demonstrate trust – Practice what you preach, walk the talk, demonstrate how your other clients trust you. Do they provide you access to their credit cards for purchasing on their behalf etc.? Refer them to your testimonials, which you should also have for them in your introduction package. Perhaps this is an opportunity for you to sign up your first Virtual Assistant client if so, talk about the systems you have in place to protect their privacy.

Remember what they said – You don’t need to remember word for word (that just makes you look like your in pain as you try to concentrate too hard), but sometimes they may refer to something said earlier. Or you may pick up on something that you can add more to which in turn will continue to drive the conversation. Remember, you’re the boss of your business, this isn’t a question and answer session. You are not sitting for an interview. You are meeting on level ground, one business owner to another.

Set clear expectations – Your potential client will have clear expectations of what they want, the direction they want their business to move in, and how they need your help to get there. You need to do the same; you need to know your stuff, what you want for your business and how you can help them achieve their goals. If this is not sorted before you start working, one or both of you could be in for a rude shock once you begin working together.

Daily routine – It’s always great to understand how their daily routine works, and when they expect help from you. How will it work in with your routine and hours? While we work in a virtual world, it is still important to be able to connect on a regular basis. Of course, the levels of physical communication would depend entirely on the type of work they need help with. Refer to the previous point. If you are managing their diary/inbox, then it would be advantageous if you were both online at a similar time. If you were doing tasks that did not require checking in on a daily basis, then communicating via email or WhatsApp can be great until you have your regular catch ups.

So when it comes time to meet for that first meeting, remember to relax, be yourself and enjoy the process, there is no need to be nervous or anxious, you’ve prepared for the meeting, you’re an equal, you’re confident, you know your stuff, and you can sign up the client.

Do you need help getting on top of your virtual assistant business? Then this is the perfect resource for you.