Meeting with clients is one of the most important things you do, regardless of your role in the company. From sales to customer service, marketing to CEO, every person that helps prepare for, participates in, or performs tasks as a result of a client meeting has the ability to affect and influence decisions and confidence level of a client. Smile to handshake, every employee should feel ownership and pride in their efforts when it comes to client meetings. We’ll discuss some client meeting tips to help you prepare, perform, and be proactive every step of the way.
A client meeting, meaning, direct collaboration and communication with a customer, is the best way to understand their needs and how you can help support them. Meet definition, a “bringing together” or coming into the presence of” assumes whether first call with client or recurring discussions, client meeting etiquette and client meeting best practices would strongly suggest direct and in-person sessions.
In this piece, we will discuss how to conduct client meetings and tips for effective client meetings so that effective client meetings through preparation, performance, and proactivity become more of a habit than work so you can focus on what is important, the output from each meeting.
When preparing for a client meeting and client visit preparation, understanding how to talk to clients may seem natural but actually takes effort. For those unsure of how to prepare for a meeting with a potential client or current client, it may be useful to come up with questions to ask your boss in a meeting and then schedule a one on one meeting. It is also advised to document these discussions so you can templatize, reuse, and share the information you are provided.
For example, if you are advised on a list of questions to ask a prospective client, you may wish to create a checklist of questions to ask in a new business meeting or recruitment client meeting questions. If you are going to be meeting for the first time with a new client, you may want to generate a list of questions to ask client on first meeting, questions to ask at first business meeting, or questions to ask client on visits (ongoing). And if you are tasked with meeting with a client’s department or team, you may wish to create a template of questions to ask at a team meeting, questions to ask at a business town hall meeting, or one on one questions to ask employees to understand their needs and goals from a team perspective.
By asking the right questions up front, you will get to know your prospect or client better and be able to address their pain points and needs rather than just demoing or selling to them blindly.
During an introduction call to a new client, you can share your first client meeting questions list to gather their initial process, goals, and insights. Giving this information to them in advance is a great way to begin preliminary introductions before having deeper conversations. Let them know in advance what to expect for the first meeting, when they can expect an agenda, and how you would like for them to engage with you in preparation for this session.
Get The Right People
Whether this will be a first meeting with prospective client or one who is already a customer, It is also appropriate to understand their team members and roles. Sales client meeting tips would always point to knowing each individual, from decision maker to influencer to user, so that you can be sure to think ahead and address as many individual needs as directly as possible. Know who will be participating and ensure they will be invited to the first session.
Create An Agenda
Next is the agenda! No matter what you call it from a client kickoff meeting agenda, a first client meeting agenda, or a new client meeting agenda, the initial meeting agenda is critical in making a first impression and setting the stage. For a more advanced customer relationship, an agency meeting agenda, a first marketing meeting agenda, a PR meeting agenda, a consulting meeting agenda, and a customer service meeting agenda are all great ways to put a more specific focus on what truly is a client relationship agenda…understanding their goals and helping to achieve them.
Due to turnover and organizational changes, the agenda should always start off with introductions to be clear on roles and building relationships with those present. If you need to know how to introduce yourself in client calls, examples can be found all over the internet along with how to introduce yourself to client face to face however, use your practical knowledge to make this simple and welcoming. Look no further than yourself in knowing how to introduce yourself to client on call by thinking about your own expectations when meeting with someone who needs to know about you and what you need to be successful.
Ensure to provide basic structure for each section of the meeting following introductions with agenda items such as:
- An overview of the client’s company
- The company’s goals and project needs
- Their target market and competitive landscape
- Their desired strategy and timeline
- Next steps and process
- Room for a recap at the end (we’ll talk about that more later!)
Share the Agenda and Collaborate
Once the client review meeting agenda has been started, share the agenda in advance with those who will be attending to give them an opportunity to review, ask questions, and prepare for the session. Offer for them to collaborate and add to the customer meeting agenda so they feel they are a part of the process and that the items they want to cover are clearly going to be discussed.
Face to Face Meeting
When it is time, it is always best if the client meeting conversation can be held in person. If that is not possible, use a solid video conferencing solution and encourage everyone to use their camera, unless bandwidth is a challenge, so that each person can see and socially interact. It is also invaluable to see how focused the client team is and to get visual cues when sharing information with them.
Stick to Schedule
Time is important for both you and your customer. The more people in the room or on the call, the more expensive the meeting is for everyone. Aim to start on time and keep to time throughout the session. Using a meeting tool like Docket, you can run your meeting and video call, take notes, and have a subtle yet gentle reminder to all guests how much time is left in the meeting.
Save Time to Recap Decisions
Always leave time at the very end of each meeting to recap decisions and actions. At a client meeting, training them this is a normal practice will create a better habit for all participants to be on time so they can be sure to get the most critical recap at the very end.
While it may seem most of the work for a client meeting is done before and during the session, the real work is just beginning!
After the meeting is done and you have received the answers on questions to ask a client about a project, it is time to share a recap with those in attendance. The recap should be professional and branded to reflect the pride in your company and instill confidence in the customer. Provide details around the decisions and actions from the meeting, including tasks and ownership as well as agreed upon milestones for transparency and clarity.
Proactively Follow Up
Have a process to track the progress for both internal and client-member actions and provide updates at a set frequency so as to not leave the client guessing on progress or status. If you are wondering why do some companies arrange social meetings with clients, it is a great way to bring your team and theirs together to gain an understanding of progress and create a more casual atmosphere to relieve stress and celebrate mutual successes!