Meeting with clients can be a little stressful, especially when you are early in your business or you haven’t met with the particular client before. If you do your planning stages right, you can have a much easier time taking care of your clients and making sure that you both have an optimal experience. Here are a few important tips that will help you to make sure your important client meeting goes off without a hitch.
Choose the Right Venue
You need to choose the perfect venue for your meeting so you can impress your client and make sure that everyone feels comfortable and productive in your meeting. But that doesn’t mean you should always be going to the same place. It’s important that you choose a specific venue that is the right fit for your particular client. Think about how many people will be attending, how formal it should be, and how well you know your client. For some meetings, a restaurant will be the perfect environment, while in other cases you may want to choose something a little quieter, like a conference room or your office.
Research Ahead of Time
The more you know beforehand, the easier it will be for you to make it through the meeting without making an avoidable mistake. Learn about your client and their business so you can come up with a plan for your meeting. If you are meeting over lunch or another meal, make sure you ask about potential dietary restrictions, so you can avoid a food disaster. It also helps to learn enough background about their company that you won’t need to ask obvious questions. It’s important to make sure that you have solid background information to build on once you are actually in the meeting together.
Practice What to Say
If you get nervous, it can help to take some time to practice what you will say in the meeting. You can practice with someone else, or practice by yourself in a mirror. If you are really nervous you can even record yourself, and work on improving after the recording. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to do everything perfectly, but do make it a point to practice until you feel comfortable. After practicing, make sure there is sufficient time to take a break and relax before you actually have to attend the meeting. This will make it a lot easier for you to come to your meeting refreshed and excited.
Food can be a huge connecting factor, so if you are interested in connecting more strongly with your clients, you should have food at the meeting. Talk to them about their preferences so you make sure they enjoy the meal you serve. Whether you have your meeting catered or make food yourself, you want to make sure everything looks beautiful. Bamboo skewers elevate the presentation of your food and can impress guests. Think about the way you present your food as well as the menu itself so you can find a great balance and create an impressive spread. Also be sure you choose food you enjoy so you feel more comfortable as well.
Part of making a good impression at your meeting is dressing in a way that is appropriate for the situation. Depending on your client and their attitude, that can mean a variety of different things. This is where your research can be incredibly helpful, since it can help you to choose an appropriate wardrobe for your meeting. If you need to have a more formal event, make sure that you are dressed to impress and that your client knows about wardrobe expectations. For more casual meetings, make sure that you don’t under or overdress so that you and your client are on an even playing field.
Put Together an Info Package
The success of your meeting may depend on how clearly you explain yourself and introduce your client to your company. That means that having clear information available to supplement your presentation can make a huge difference. An info package can help you in multiple ways, like act as a guide if you get nervous and lost when talking to your clients. It can also help you to have a more straightforward and transparent meeting that will help your client to feel happier and more comfortable with the work you are doing.
Keep Things Short When Possible
Nobody likes a long meeting, and while they are sometimes necessary, it’s smart to avoid them when possible. A short and sweet meeting that addresses the points thoroughly and effectively can be a better option that has everyone feeling happy at the end of them. Stick to your agenda as much as possible and work on efficiency so you can navigate the meeting in a reasonable amount of time. This doesn’t mean that you should rush through things or ignore your clients’ questions, just that you shouldn’t waste time on things that neither party wants or needs to discuss.
Work on Your Business’s Image
While you are doing research, your clients will probably research your business as well. That means you want to have a solid reputation and great reviews. Encourage current clients to leave you positive reviews when you work with them, and ensure that you are always working to cultivate a positive reputation for your brand with the public. This will help you start every client meeting out on the right foot so you have already impressed your potential or recurring clients before the meeting even begins.
When you have a successful client meeting, it will immediately help you to feel more confident for the next one. And as you continue to cultivate solid relationships with your clients, your business will grow. With that taken care of, you will be ready to handle whatever the business world sends to your business throughout the year.
Read this next: What Your Offices Need to Accommodate Client Visits