Tips for excelling at your first client conversation 

By Cindy Cui

Staff Accountant | Audit and Advisory

Deloitte is a global professional services firm, which means you will likely be interacting with clients on a frequent basis – whether through email, over the phone or in-person. Here are some tips for your first client meeting:

1. Be prepared
Make sure you are familiar with the topics of discussion. Your understanding will help guide you toward the right follow-up questions. Ultimately, this will impact how much you get out of the conversation. Before your meeting, send your client an email with a list of key topics and questions to give them an idea of what the meeting will be about. This ensures you’re both prepared.

2. Ask questions
Talking to clients can be tough because you may be scared to ask a “stupid question”. At Deloitte, there will always be people you can rely on for guidance and support. Your senior colleagues have been in the same shoes as you, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes and ask questions. Before your first client conversation, consider running through your questions and topics of discussion with a senior colleague on your team. Their experiences can open more insights about the client beyond the questions you intended to ask.

3. Be personable
You will have the opportunity to work with a variety of interesting clients. They are all passionate about their business, which makes them knowledgeable but can also be intimidating if you are new. Remember that everyone has a life outside of work, so try building connections through common interests. Building rapport takes time but you will find that your next client conversation will become easier once you have established a solid connection.

4. Follow up
Often times you will find that you may not get all the answers from your client conversations. Always follow up afterwards to ensure that any outstanding items from you or the client are acknowledged and agreed upon for delivery in the next meeting.
There is always a first time for everything, but with practice and support from your colleagues you will develop confidence and master the art of client conversations as you progress through your career at Deloitte.

Cindy is a recent graduate from the University of British Columbia majoring in Accounting and Business Technology Management. She is currently a staff accountant at our British Columbia practice.

Cindy Cui
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