Since I came in to my position, I have done a lot of planning and scheduling of meetings. With all of these meetings I have, of course, met a number of new people (yay for networking!) So far I have met with both the account executives and associates of Hill Communications. Though every meeting provides me with a bit of new information, I think the most interesting experience I have had thus far has been the client meeting.
As an account supervisor in any field, the first meeting with the client is crucial. The initial meeting is when you make your first impression and collect the most essential information needed for your work ahead.
After meeting with my client, I realized that talking with a person face-to-face allows you to understand not only their needs, but also their attitudes (more so than a phone call or an email). After my first experience with the client, I complied a few tips for beginners who may be nervous about their first professional client meeting:
1) Create an agenda. Creating a meeting agenda is a great way to mentally prepare yourself for each meeting. Though you may not follow it to a tee, creating the document will help you sort through what exactly the objectives of the meeting are so they are fresh in your mind when it comes time to meet.
2) Stay focused. Your client may need help with a variety of different things, and they are likely to ask you to fix problems unrelated to your contract. Although it can be difficult to say in person, be confident and remind your client that you plan to stick to the contract. Let them know that other or “extra” needs should be negotiated with the firm (at another time).
3) Take good notes. Chances are that your client will have a lot to say. Take great notes to use as a reference when strategizing. A coworker or associate should be able to read your notes and know exactly went on at the meeting!
4) Ask questions. After discussing all of the items on the agenda, it’s super important to ask your client if they have any further questions or concerns about the partnership. This will assure them you are listening to their needs and that you care. Most importantly, it lets the client know they are in good hands.
5) Create a stellar meeting brief. After the client meeting, sort through all of the information you gathered and organize it into a “meeting brief.” This is a summary or review of everything that was discussed in the meeting, even if it doesn’t relate to the contract. Like your notes, this document should be easy for any outside party to understand.
There is a lot more that goes into a successful client meeting that just these steps. However, these are a few great bookkeeping tips to help beginners get started. I look forward to learning at lot more as an account supervisor as the semester progresses!<