As a business owner client meetings are an essential part of my business. Not only do I meet with potential clients, which is extremely exciting because of the opportunities that exist to build new relationships but I also meet regularly with my exiting clients to ensure that their needs are addressed and to continue to be an advisor of choice.
But what does it take to make a client meeting successful? Here are my best tips for planning client meetings:
- Prepare, prepare, prepare
I cannot emphasise this enough. Preparation is key to any successful meeting. In preparing for a meeting you need to ensure that you know:
- why you are having the meeting;
- where and at what time the meeting is at;
- how to you intend to address the matters to be discussed; and
- who are meeting participants.
- Have an agenda
Always set an agenda for your meeting. By setting an agenda it ensures that the most important matters are addressed and provides a point of reference for everyone in attendance. I have also noticed that agendas have improved my productivity because I can easily identify what needs to be done next and by whom.
If you are responsible for hosting a meeting, I suggest that you send the agenda to all the meeting participants at least 2 days before the start of the meeting. This provides an opportunity for those attending to adequately prepare.
- Do your due diligence
The process of reaching and understanding a potential client or the matters to be discussed at a meeting should never be ignored.
When I conduct due diligence on a potential client I try to understand as much possible about their business – products, services, locations, management. For my clients, the purpose of my due diligence is to provide solutions to their existing and potential problems.
- Look the part
Always ensure that your look is professional but also keep in mind your audience. Having a good understanding of your client’s corporate image and environment goes a long way in guiding your professional appearance.
With these tips, plan your next client meeting successfully.
Rashida Parasram is a freelance accountant and business consultant with a passion for seeing small businesses thrive. She is a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants as well as the Institute of Charactered Accountants of Barbados. She has gained over 10 years experience in the fields of audit and business advisory with the accounting firms of KPMG and Ernst &Young.