Every time you look up from your files it seems like one particular client is asking for a meeting. Some clients like to meet, meet, and meet again. But often times such meets waste your time and theirs.
Still, you want to make your client happy. There are ways to make sure such meetings are actual production and good for the both of you.
“When dealing with clients, it is important to cater to their needs and make the working relationship as seamless as possible for them. Dealing with clients that always want to meet can present a challenge,” explains workplace expert Devoreaux Walton, owner of The Poise Pursuit.
Walton advises having a “full transparency policy” with clients. “A full transparency policy provides your client complete access regarding the work you are completing together. For example, if your client knows a status update meeting is scheduled every week on Wednesday, he or she is less likely to need to have a meeting with you at the drop of a hat to inquire about the status on a task. A shared project management system is a method for providing transparency to your client. If you have a platform available for your client to monitor the work, your client is able to view tasks and statuses online instead of emailing you or inquiring for a meeting,” she notes.
Find out why your client feels the need to meet so often. The words “let’s meet for coffee,” and all their closely related cousins, can strike fear into the heart of consultants and other entrepreneurs who are trying to remain task focused and productive. When a client is constantly asking for meetings, even when they are not needed, it’s time to investigate what’s going on,” explains Karen Southall Watts, author of “Messenger: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Communication.”
There are several things you can do to make sure these meets are productive.
“Create a call agenda. Before any meeting, create an agenda that all parties can review and modify before the meeting. To stay on course, make sure that the agenda reflects the goals that were set forth at the beginning of the year with your account plan,” suggests David Tevendale, director of business development at Vast Conference.
Have a set meeting schedule. “Schedule a recurring meeting. This helps your client know when to expect that you’ll be check-in in next,” adds Tevendale.
Be proactive. “You can successfully manage your communication frequency with your clients by establishing boundaries at the onset of the working relationship. Instead of waiting three months after a project has commenced, in the onboarding process, you can decide with your client the frequency and duration of meetings,” says Wilson. “By providing the leadership and guidance, you take control so your client is not left guessing or inquiring you for details. In the event your client wants to meet at a time that you have a schedule conflict or will be occupied (perhaps with a different client) you can politely decline a meeting while giving your client a proposed date and time for an additional meeting to discuss the matters at hand.”
Remember you don’t always have to say “yes” to these meetings. You can decline. Explains Tevendale, “Simply because repeated, non-productive meetings are not sustainable. In fact, eventually the lack of sustainability might take care of the problem for you–you’ll fail to deliver and lose the client.”