Getting off to the right start with a client can make or break a business deal. Whether you are self-employed or a small business owner, client-relations are an essential part of your job responsibilities.
Therefore, when it comes to meeting with clients to discuss current or future contracts, you should always have a plan of action to ensure your clients are happy with the interaction. Here is what you need to know when it comes to structuring and running a client meeting.
Choose a Professional Setting
When setting up a client meeting, it is important to choose a location that works for all parties involved. It is best to try and schedule a meeting outside of your office space. Using a larger and more spacious setting like a meeting room or conference room creates a professional atmosphere where everyone can feel relaxed and comfortable.
When you take the time to reserve or schedule a conference room for your client meeting, you illustrate your client’s importance, showing them you hold their relationship in high regard.
Identify the Nature of the Meeting
A business meeting can take many forms and cover various topics, so it’s important to layout the discussion topics for your clients ahead of time. It’s always a good idea to provide a meeting outline to all those in attendance, as people like to have an overview of what the discussion will entail.
This outline should cover the main discussion points of the meeting, as well as any details concerning current events or industry-specific news. It should also have attached copies of any documentation related to the discussion topics. Even when conducting a virtual meeting, it is vital to have a well-structured agenda at hand.
Preparing and using a meeting agenda can do wonders for the flow of the meeting.
Client Meeting Agenda Template
Feel free to download and use this available meeting agenda template to help your business structure its next client meeting.
How to Open the Meeting Positively
The way you open a meeting can have a significant impact on how the session progresses. Beginning the discussion on a positive note can help reinforce the cheerful mood and optimistic outlook for the meeting. Many managers like to open the conversation with a relevant anecdote, motivational quote, or upbeat story to get everyone excited.
Depending on how well established the working relationship between your business and client is, you can change up the way you open your business meeting. For new clients, you will want to take the time to establish a friendly rapport that makes them feel welcome and at ease. Find a common interest or common ground where the two of you can connect.
For older, well-established clients, the warm welcome will reaffirm the relations, while a quick list of wins or successes your business has produced for them will reassert your value to their company.
Why Should You Take Minutes in a Meeting?
Taking minutes does not just cover the timekeeping of the meeting; it’s also about note-taking. Therefore, taking minutes and notes should always be a part of your client meeting process and should be considered a best practice for your company.
Jotting down further discussion points can help cover any insights produced or client comments or questions you could not answer at the moment. By keeping orderly notes, you have something to reference at the end of the meeting going forward, which can help you reassess goals or structure new project objectives.
What is the Main Purpose of Summarizing the Conversation With the Client at the End of a Meeting?
Before closing the meeting and saying goodbye to your client, it is essential to go over the discussion’s main objectives and resolutions. If new goals have been settled on or agreements made, you should take a few minutes to quickly summarize these points at the end of the meeting. Such summaries will also be easier to do if you have taken notes throughout the session.
A summarization at the end of the meeting also gives your clients a chance to ask any more questions they might not have been able to ask before. It also gives you both a window of opportunity to clarify any discussion points that confused either one of you.
Once the summary points are made, and the meeting has ended, everyone will leave the room with a clear understanding of the issues or goals going forward. With the discussion points fresh in everyone’s mind, it will be easier to find direction for the next steps.
Tips on Business Meeting Etiquette
When it comes to conducting a professional meeting that runs smoothly, there are specific tips you can take on board to improve your business meeting etiquette altogether. Therefore, when structuring and running a client meeting, consider the following:
● Send an official invite to the client for the meeting, whether this is by phone or email
● Greet your client at the door of your building, especially if the meeting room is confusing to get to
● Greet everyone who is attending the meeting, not just the client head, and make introductions if necessary
● Prepare a meeting agenda ahead of time and provide print outs to all in attendance
● Prepare any technology beforehand, including powerpoints, slideshows, or printouts
● Provide refreshments such as water, tea, and/or coffee
● Keep the conversation polite and professional, don’t ask personal questions if you do not already have a relationship with the client
● Remember names and use them generously throughout the meeting- people are more likely to connect with you as a result
● Keep your phone stowed away to show clients they have 100% of your attention
● Do not eat any food in the meeting that has not already been provided or approved by everyone
● Remember to thank your clients for coming in and seeing you once the meeting has ended
With these tips in mind, self-employed individuals and businesses can conduct professional and successful client meetings for the future.
To get your business meetings off to a successful start, why not reserve a conference or meeting room here at Telsec. Our professional Toronto office space offers the perfect location for your next client discussion.
Contact us today to learn more about our business services and meeting spaces.