It doesn’t matter how far we have come with technology innovation and revolutionizing workflow, the typical office meeting can still feel a little clunky, and your clients do pick up on this. The last thing you want your client to feel about you or your business is uncertainty, and by simply tightening up your client meetings, you could be well on your way to delivering more confidence in these meetings and actually have your clients looking forward to the next time they connect at your office. So let's proceed and look at how to make your meetings more client-friendly.
What you offer your clients might not seem like an important factor for you who is about to deliver intrinsic value through the meeting, but that’s not to say that the client doesn’t want to be considered and treated to a refreshment. Many offices have found that once they hire a coffee machine and offer a barista-made coffee to their clients, this kicks communication off on the right note, and it can even facilitate small talk and foster rapport which can be hard to manufacture inauthentically. You also have to consider how this small gesture could change how the client perceives you - you are no longer a cold contact on the other side of a phone call or email, you are a person sitting on the other side of a table enjoying a coffee with you.
Just because you have a room dedicated for meetings, does not mean it’s the best option you have. You want to be exploring a space that has some natural light or at least some soft and competent light, as well as furniture that is comfortable and modern so that your clients aren’t counting down the minutes before they can leave.
You also want this meeting space to be an extension of who you are as a business, as this is going to be a great non-verbal cue which your clients can incorporate into their overall perception of you and what you can offer them. Have you also considered access to your meeting rooms in case you entertain a client with special needs, and are your technologies able to support the needs of vision and hearing impaired clients? If not, put a plan in place in case a client meeting with these requirements occurs.
Just because you have been meeting with a client for months or years now, does not mean you should become complacent with these meetings and shy away from shaking things up. Always be looking at ways to enhance the meeting experience, which could be an offsite meeting every now and then or maybe it’s having an informal meeting in staff areas so that they can see the engine behind the scenes and see how you and your colleagues interact with one another professionally. You want to be showing them that you value their time and that these meetings have had some thought put into them to continue meeting their needs.
Too many businesses are in a hurry to get to their point that they rush the introduction of themselves and the company as a whole, and they miss making meetings more Client-Friendly. Tell your client about yourself and the others in your team attending the meeting - as the might not know what you have worked in other countries, built well-known businesses, or they might even like to know that you are passionate about your values and want to bring them to their business.
You also want to be introducing your business in your own words, as you shouldn’t assume that you know who you are and don’t let them do too much research on their own! These introductions also go both ways, so be sure to understand their roles and what drives them as this is going to inform how you work together and what output they are expecting from you. Another good tip to remember is that people like to hear their name, so don’t be afraid to be personable.
We hope that you are now starting to think creatively about how you can tackle your next client meeting, make your meetings more client-friendly, and what tools and considerations can be made to make this a memorable and valuable exchange for the client.