Running a successful client meeting is hard work, and it can be stressful, too. But it also means your small business marketing is working! Whether you’re wooing a massive new potential client or an upstart small business, you want to leave a meeting feeling like you’ve made a real, positive difference in that client’s opinion of your Calgary business. Even if you don’t win the deal right at that moment, the impression you make can plant the seed that ultimately leads to a conversion down the line.
Anyone who’s been through a few bad meetings knows the potential pitfalls. When a meeting falls off-track or one person unexpectedly dominates the conversation, negative results often follow. The good news is that planning an effective client meeting isn’t as hard as it seems, if you’re willing to invest some time in preparation. Follow our top ten tips for planning better client meetings to ensure that you make the most of every meeting.
Our Top Ten Tips for Planning Better Client Meetings
Preparing for a meeting starts with taking a careful look at your client, but there’s far more to the process. Productive meetings don’t happen by accident. How you plan your meeting and how you share that plan with attendees often makes all the difference.
- Phones Off, Please – Smartphones, tablets, and mobile devices can be great productivity enhancers around the office… just not in meetings. Ask any of your employees who attend to set their technology aside until the meeting is over, to make sure everyone is focused on the task at hand.
- Plan an Agenda – The worst meetings happen when nobody in the room is sure why they’re there in the first place. Plan your agenda ahead of time, and share it with your employees and the client.
- Stick to Your Agenda – Setting an agenda is the easy part. The challenge is sticking to it, even when the inevitable surprises arise. Be willing to alter your plan if needed, but do your best to stay on agenda whenever possible.
- Keep a Short List – Having too many voices in a room can bog down a meeting, even if everyone involved has good intentions. When planning a meeting, try to invite only the people who need to be there. If possible, find out ahead of time who your client will bring to the meeting.
- Stay on Topic and On Time – Make every effort to start and end your meeting at the planned times. If you want people to be willing to show up for your next meeting, punctuality is vital.
- Set Clear Objectives – Everyone involved in a meeting should know why they are there, and what you hope to accomplish. Set your objectives ahead of time to give your team and client time to prepare for the meeting.
- Be Creative – Creativity is one of the keys to success in business, and that extends to planning client meetings. Look for new, interesting tactics to present information to your client in memorable ways, and enlist your creative employees for assistance.
- Personalize Your Plan – Using a similar structure for different client meetings is fine, as long as the content is personalized for each client. Make sure you’re speaking directly to the client’s needs, and not to the needs of a generic client in their industry.
- Call Your Client – Whether you’ve covered everything or left a few loose ends, it’s important to follow up with your client and employees after the meeting. Check in to make sure everyone understands what was covered, and address any lingering questions.
- Show Your Personality – Setting the tone with a positive company culture is a great way to inspire your employees, and it will rub off on your clients, too. Let the best of your company culture show during meetings to get your client excited about what you have to offer.
You can almost reduce our top ten tips into two key directives. First, make a solid, personalized plan. Next, do your best to stick to the plan. Mix in a bit of creativity and positive company culture, and you’ll be well on your way to planning a successful client meeting.
Ready to show your business in its best light? Emphasize Design offers everything you need for impactful small business marketing in Calgary, and we can even help you secure more leads, for less cost!