5 Tips for Better Client Meetings
How to create meetings that people want to attend
BY BONNIE STARING
Meetings are part of doing business, but do both you and your clients feel that they’re time well spent? Irene Jorgensen is a business coach who shows entrepreneurs struggling with public speaking, networking and marketing how to grow the businesses they’ve created, and offers these tips for making meetings work better for all involved.
1. Determine if a meeting is necessary
“Sometimes we’re eager to develop a relationship with a client and may lean more toward face-to-face meetings when a phone call will suffice,” says Jorgensen. She recommends using in-person meetings to meet clients for the first time and for in-depth work sessions, troubleshooting, business reviews or when there’s a lengthy agenda.
2. Schedule enough time
To avoid feeling rushed – or actually running out of time – create an agenda to help gauge how long the meeting should be. “I recommend the first item on your agenda be something like ‘Welcome & Coffee’,” advises Jorgensen. The length of time for chit-chat will vary according to the personality type of your client, and the number of people in the meeting. “Even if your client is a ‘let’s get this done’ type, he or she will still want to feel welcomed, just in a shorter time period,” she adds.
3. Choose and invite appropriate attendees
In addition to the main decision makers, you may want to include an assistant who’ll be working on the project. “Often, assistants are kept in the background, but when they can be introduced to the client and be part of a meeting, they get a better understanding of the urgency of a project and feel more invested in it,” says Jorgensen.
4. Conduct Business-Review meetings
Many entrepreneurs have had a client who never complained but nonetheless ended up going to another company. Jorgensen suggests conducting post-mortems with clients after the completion of projects to discuss what worked, what didn’t and what could have been done better. “This gives your client permission to air their grievances,” explains Jorgensen. These meetings also give you the opportunity to improve client relationships and how you do business.
5. Above all else, listen
“It’s easy to get caught up telling a client all about your business and what your company does, but it’s far more effective to let your client do most of the talking,” explains Jorgensen. Active listening will help you understand your clients’ needs better than pitching to them ever will.