Connecting with prospects in person will always be more effective at winning business than Zoom meetings in recruitment.
But after a few years behind a screen, it’s likely you might need to brush up on your face-to-face meeting skills before walking into your client’s office.
Here’s how to get the most out of your client meetings in 2022…
DO lots of preparation
After a year of virtual meetings, you might underestimate the effort it takes to prepare for a face-to-face client meeting. Whether you like it or not, you’ll probably be a bit rusty, and the key to not losing your cool is to go in there very prepared.
Give yourself lots of time to plan what you’re pitching, tailor your offerings to their needs and prepare facts and figures to back up your suggestions.
Make sure you’ve done thorough research so you’re ready to answer any and every question the client fires at you – and this goes for new and existing business. Don’t assume that because you have an existing relationship that meetings will be a breeze – these meetings take just as much prep as those with new clients.
DO stick with decision makers
We’ve all been close to digital burnout this last year, so it’s natural we’re tempted to use any excuse to get out and meet clients again. But treat your meeting schedule like your phone schedule: would you make time for calls with people who aren’t decision makers?
There’s nothing worse than getting prepped for a client visit, lugging in branded merch and performing a perfect pitch only to be told “That’s great, I’ll pass the info onto my boss”.
You might’ve got a rare sneak peek of a new office but the journey was a waste of your time.
DON’T forget to set the agenda
You’re not calling in on your prospect to drop off doughnuts and catch up on the last two years of watching Netflix – you’re there for business!
Be clear about your expectation for the meeting in advance. A few days before you visit, email all attendees with a clear meeting agenda that says exactly the points you’ll cover and how long you’re expecting it to take.
By setting an agenda in advance, you’ll show your client you’re in control and give them the opportunity to weigh in on what they’d like to discuss too. It also makes sure your meeting has structure that ensures everyone leaves with the answers they need, instead of a list of TV crimes series to watch next.
DO respect Covid concerns
Everyone’s experience and response to the Covid-19 pandemic has been different. So, unless you ask beforehand, you’ll arrive at your meeting having no idea how your clients feel about the virus, and what their safety expectations are in the office.
To avoid any awkward moments, play it safe: Wear a mask if necessary, keep your distance, and ask before reaching to shake anyone’s hand. If in doubt, have your elbow at the ready!
DO close with an action plan
When you’re meeting clients in-person again, it’s easy to get distracted by pleasantries and catching up that you leave the building without any next steps or agreed actions. You’d never allow this to happen on a client call, so don’t get caught out in meetings!
Make it your goal to walk away from the meeting with a plan of action in place. Before you leave, outline everything you and your client have agreed on so everyone knows what the next steps are.
Whether it’s working a particular job for them or just agreeing a time and date for the next meeting, everyone needs to know what comes next.
DON’T forget to follow up
By the time you travel home from your client’s office, it’s easy to forget about sending a follow-up email. But it’s important you stay close to your client after the meeting and keep them accountable for what you’ve agreed.
As soon as you’re back at your computer, email your meeting overview and agreed next steps. By documenting everything, you’re also removing any grey areas for both you and the client.