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Client Meetings: 6 Steps (and Tips) to Plan and Run Them Effectively

Set yourself apart by showing up to your client meetings prepared and ready to impress with these 6 can't miss steps!

By Hannah Ross  •   November 18, 2021  •   7 min read

Regardless of your role, meeting with clients may be one of the most important tasks that you complete within your organization. Learning how to meet with clients both professionally and strategically in a way that impresses the client and moves the needle towards a solid working relationship is a major skill that is often sought after by employers and senior leadership. 

Learning how to plan, prepare, and perform effectively during a client meeting is a great way to set yourself apart. This article will dive into four different types of client meetings as well as six tips and best practices that you can leverage to run a successful meeting with your next client. 

What is a client meeting? 

A client meeting is a scheduled meeting between you and the client that is meant to promote collaboration and communication with the client. Planning and hosting an effective client meeting is the quickest and easiest way to gain a clear understanding of the client’s needs and how you can best support them. 

Contrary to popular belief, hosting a client meeting is not always done with the intention of making a sale, but rather to create a relationship with the client that is built on trust, transparency, and understanding. Creating a solid meeting agenda with clear objectives is key when planning and hosting a successful meeting. Showing up to the meeting prepared and keeping things moving fluently is a great way to keep the client engaged, while demonstrating your competency and excellent organizational skills. 

Show up to your meetings prepared and ready to impress

Create an organized meeting agenda to build your relationship on trust and transparency by using a collaborative meeting software like Fellow.

Different types of client meetings 

Depending on the needs of both you and the client, the type of client meeting you host may vary. Keep reading to learn how you can impress clients at your next meeting: 

1     Introductory meeting  

An introductory meeting is the first step or the preliminary phase to the relationship with the client. Think of an introductory meeting as a first impression. The introductory meeting is your chance to wow the client. Use this time to put your best foot forward and show the client who you really are. The best relationships are built on trust and transparency and this is your opportunity to get to know the client and determine whether or not you want to move forward with a partnership. This is also the client’s opportunity to determine whether they want to pursue a working relationship with you in the future. 

2     Consultation

After you’ve held an introductory meeting, the next step is to host a consultation where you as the service provider will be given the opportunity to get the ball rolling. Whether you’re selling a service, or starting a project, this is your time to gain a clear understanding of the client’s needs while positioning yourself as a solution. 

At the end of this meeting, you should know if the client is a good fit and you should have provided the client with a clear understanding of what you can provide and how you can help. An initial consultation acts as a middle ground where both parties can understand the other’s perspective and learn how to move forward in tandem. 

3    Proposal meeting 

After you’ve won over the client and ironed out the details, it’s time to get to work and really show them what you can do. A proposal meeting is usually used to present your findings and enter into a more formal agreement with the client. During this meeting, you will present the client with your research as well as a formal document that they can review to determine whether or not they would like to move forward and give you the job. 

If the introductory meeting and consultation have gone well, providing the client with a proposal based on the details you’ve discussed to date is a great way to seal the deal and move the project to the next phase. 

4     Check-in meeting 

Whether you’re working with a client or in-house team, it’s always best to conduct frequent check-in meetings to make sure everything is on track and running smoothly. Hosting frequent or ever weekly check-in meetings presents a great opportunity for both parties to check-in, ask questions, share thoughts, or provide feedback. 

If you’re working with a client that prefers to be heavily involved, it may be best to schedule these meetings in advance. Doing so will not only impress clients, but it will also provide you with the opportunity to present status updates, or ask the client for any outstanding tasks or deliverables from their end. 

Best practices for client meetings 

If you want to run a client meeting but aren’t sure where to start, these tips and tricks will be sure to point you in the right direction so you can run a successful meeting. 

1     Research attendees 

Nothing is worse than showing up for a meeting unprepared and researching all attendees prior to the meeting is a great way to level up and ensure you’re leaving no stone unturned. Not only will going into the meeting educated on your guests put your mind at ease, but it will also eliminate the chance of any unwarranted surprises while providing you with the information you need to connect and find a common ground with all attendees. 

If you want to run a client meeting successfully, it’s extremely important that you do your research prior to each and every meeting. 

2     Define the purpose of the meeting 

A huge part of running a successful meeting is defining the purpose of the meeting. Maybe you need clarity on a deadline? Maybe you need to realign the client or present your vision for the end product? Or maybe, you just need to dedicate some time to client questions. Regardless, its important to be clear with your intentions so both you and the client can come to the meeting prepared and well-informed.  

3     Create an agenda 

Building a thorough meeting agenda can be a game-changer for your productivity. Not only that, but a solid agenda acts as a reference point for both parties and ensures everyone in attendance knows what to expect prior to the meeting, during the meeting, and after the meeting. 

Not including a meeting agenda in your next client meeting is a major mistake. Not only will the client not know what to expect, but you may also run the risk of running off topic, taking up too much time, or not covering important action items. A solid meeting agenda will ensure every client meeting runs smoothly from start to finish.

4     Create the perfect conditions

You can’t impress clients or run a successful meeting if you don’t create the perfect environment. Creating the perfect conditions involves lots of prep work and due diligence. If you want to impress clients, your main goal should be to provide solutions to their problems. 

If you take the time to plan for your client’s meetings strategically while taking into account each one of these best practices, your meetings will be set up for success. 

5     Have a wrap-up plan 

When you run a client meeting, it’s important to remember that closing the meeting is just as important as starting the meeting. Not only do you have to start your client meetings on the right foot, but it’s also important to end on a solid note so you can continue to nurture your working relationship. 

When wrapping up, make sure to circle back to the client and ensure each one of their needs, or concerns have been addressed. Don’t leave any questions unanswered and make sure to reiterate key action items that both parties will be responsible for moving forward. 

6     Follow up 

Following up with your client periodically throughout the course of the project or post meeting will help keep their fears at bay while ensuring both of you are on the same page and working in tandem throughout the course of the project. 

Providing each client with the proper information they need to follow up will exude confidence and ensure the client can get in touch should a reason arise. Letting your clients know how and when to get in touch will eliminate any confusion and initiate an open line of communication. 

Free client update meeting agenda template

Impress clients in 6 simple steps 

Congratulations, you’re officially ready to plan and run an effective client meeting! Whether you’re hosting an introductory meeting or a check-in meeting, these simple tips and tricks will help you impress clients and run a successful meeting. The next time you run a client meeting, don’t forget to research all attendees, define the purpose of the meeting, create an agenda, incorporate a wrap-up plan, and follow up when appropriate.  

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