6 Ways to Run an Effective Client Meeting
Whether you are a business owner, salesperson, manager, engineer, or designer, client meetings allow you to build credibility and trust with prospects, current customers and leads. Learning how to plan, mediate and prepare for an effective client meeting is a great way to set yourself apart from others, create a strong impression, and initiate an excellent working relationship.
To help you out, we have compiled a list of six ways to run effective client meetings.
Research the Client
Researching all attendees, especially the boss (client), before the meeting is an excellent way to level up and be prepared, ensuring that no stones are left unturned. In simpler words, going to an introductory meeting while knowing everything there is to know about a potential client will put your mind at ease, giving you the confidence and reassurance that you need. Another reason why researching a client is the key to successful client meetings is because it minimizes the chance of any unwanted surprises while providing you with all the information that you might need to find a common ground and connect with all attendees.
Define the Purpose of the Meeting
There are typically four types of face-to-face client meetings:
- Introductory Meeting: This is the first meeting you will have with the client. Consider it the one and only chance that you leave a potential client wowed. Use this opportunity to get to know your client and determine the chances of this partnership working.
- Consultation: After you have successfully convinced the client after the introductory meeting, the second step is to host a consultation meeting. The purpose of the meeting includes understanding the needs of the client and how you can help them reach their goals.
- Proposal Meeting: As the name suggests, once you have won the client over, the proposal meeting takes place. It is an opportunity for you to present your findings and propose a project outline to them. In short, this meeting works as a decision maker and is your only chance to seal the deal.
- Check-in Meeting: Whether you are working with an in-house team or a client, frequent check-in meetings are required to ensure everything is running smoothly. During this, both parties ask questions and schedule delivery deadlines.
So, whether you need clarity about the goals of the project or the deadline, pre-defining the purpose of the meeting helps in putting you and the client on the same page. It also helps you in preparing for the meeting, such as creating the talking points and the subject matter.
Create the Perfect Conditions
No matter how well prepared you are, you cannot run a successful client meeting if you fail to set the perfect environment. From finding the most comfortable sitting spot to a friendly atmosphere, creating the perfect conditions to run effective client meetings require lots of due diligence and prep work. So, take out the time plan and run client meetings strategically while taking into account your client’s needs.
Create an Agenda and Be Prepared to Answer Questions
Having a clear and on-point meeting agenda is more than just a game changer for the final outcome of the client meetings; it also acts as a solid reference point for both the stakeholders, ensuring that all the attendees know what to expect before, after, and during a meeting.
Note that not having a meeting agenda increases the risk of you running off-topic, missing important points, and taking too much time. On the other hand, having a solid meeting agenda ensures that the client meetings run smoothly from the start to the finish.
Always Have a Wrap-Up Plan
As important as it is to have a meeting agenda beforehand, it is equally important to have a closing plan. When ending client meetings, ensure that the client has answered all your questions and that the meeting ends on a solid note as every meeting impacts your working relationship.
Pro-Tip: Do not forget to reiterate key action items so that nothing is missed.
Don’t Forget to Follow Up
Though the most neglected step, following up with your client after a meeting or throughout the project ensures that both you and the client are on the same page throughout the project. It also reassures their confidence, giving them the peace of mind that the project is in safe hands. Simply put, letting the clients know when and how to get in touch will initiate an open line of communication and eliminate any confusion.
Managing and mapping an effective client meeting is a demanding process that requires two things: in-depth knowledge of the project and the client you are working with. However, the secret to running effective client meetings is that a team leader should always be prepared to turn the meeting into a new business deal.