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The Essentials of Holding Client Meetings in Your Office
University of Texas article on tips for successful in-person meetings for bringing new clients into your business in a post-pandemic businessplace.
Originally published by The McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas. Re-posted with permission.
Meetings are an important part of running your business and bringing new clients on board. Virtual meetings can work well but there are times when nothing replaces holding client meetings in your office.
Body language and other nonverbal cues can be revealing when holding client meetings and virtual meetings don’t often convey these. Face-to-face meetings with clients can cement relationships in a way that may be difficult in virtual meetings. If you hold client meetings in your office, here are some tips you need to consider.
If you pre-register clients, you can save them time and facilitate the sign-in process. You can send them a meeting invitation that includes your workplace address, driving and transit directions, and what they need to do upon arrival.
Using Greetly’s visitor management system ensures clients get quick processing when they arrive for the meeting, which can leave a positive and lasting impression on them. Upon arrival, they can check-in using a kiosk or go touchless using their own smartphone. The whole process is digital and all the details are stored in your cloud-based visitor management logbook.
Make sure everyone is prepared
Whether you’re the only person in the meeting with the client or it involves multiple colleagues, everyone needs to have access to the same information and know the goals of the meeting. Everyone should know the talking points so they can think about what questions they need to ask.
Set a time limit on the meeting
To make the most effective use of a client’s time, it’s important to first consider whether a meeting is really necessary or whether a video conference call could work instead. If a client has to travel quite a distance to a meeting, there must be a good reason for it.
If a meeting at your office is the best way forward, it’s a good idea to set a time limit on it. This will make sure everyone focuses on getting through the agenda and no time is wasted. When clients understand that your meetings are productive and useful, they will be more receptive to attending. A short, well-planned, organized meeting can save your company time and money.
Use the right room and equipment for the meeting
Your meeting room should reflect your brand because it acts as a type of ‘shop front’ for your business. Your clients will spend most of their time there when they come for a meeting. Integrating power points into your boardroom tables can help clients to plug in their laptops and take notes or look up information.
Make sure audiovisual equipment is in good working order for presentations and a decent microphone and amplification setup will subtly boost the volume of any speakers throughout the room. If your chairs are ergonomic, clients will sit for longer periods without experiencing too much discomfort.
Focus on client’s sensibilities
If your clients are prepared to drive across the country for a meeting, they are clearly motivated and the topic of the meeting is worth their valuable time. You need to show them that you are actively listening to them and taking their values, ethics, and needs into consideration.
Meetings can be a total waste of time or they can be very productive and focused. It would be considered very rude to get out your phone during a face-to-face meeting and start checking your emails, whereas it is easy to do this during a virtual meeting. Meetings in your office can therefore help you to build stronger relationships and establish more loyalty and trust with clients.