Over the years, Leapfrog has worked with many clients from around the world. In the process, we realized how the first client meetings has impacted our overall journey and project success. By simply carrying out a frictionless first meeting, we earn their trust and pave the way for more comfortable conversations in the future.
So, how do you run a successful first client meeting? Simply by following a checklist that allows you to be prepared for the meetings. While it’s not rocket science, many people are oblivious to these simple tasks in the checklist which includes:
Setting up a meeting
Before setting up the meeting, figure out who are the right participants and what is the objective behind it. Then, set a calendar and send out invites to all the participants with details about the meeting, agenda and any supporting materials that you want clients to have access to. It is important that you clarify the agenda for the meeting to avoid derailments from topics during the meeting.
Always have an agenda set for the meeting and communicate it to all the participants. Since it’s the first meeting, the agenda could be about introducing teams, products or simply getting familiar with each other. It is also suggested to share any supporting materials as slides or documents in the calendar description, so they can go through it and spend more time on relevant conversations. Your clients will also have a general idea of what is going to be discussed when you send out slides or documents.
It is important to remove all friction if possible. Always test your devices before meetings. You do not want to deal with lagging internet or flaws in the optical and audio devices during meetings. This will surely leave a bad impression on your clients. Thus, don’t leave things because they are obvious, there can be unforeseen issues that can be solved before meetings.
Another important task in successfully running your first client meeting is sharing the meeting notes during the meeting. Make sure you inform your client that you are taking notes and share it with them. This helps set some level of transparency between the two parties and also validate assumptions made during the meeting. People might sometimes misunderstand the requirements, and sharing notes with your clients during meetings will allow them to clarify and validate those assumptions.
After the meeting is over, send out an email with a summary of what was discussed in the meeting. Email is a scalable communication and can be shared with teams when required. Often your clients will need to communicate project details with their team and your notes will save them time. The minutes are also a good way to validate that everyone is working on the same set of assumptions after the meeting.
This checklist prepares you to make a good impression from day 1. You as a development partner come in to lead and consult. By successfully running your first meeting you show that you are credible and can be trusted with their project. The first meetings lay the foundation of earning trust, credibility and building rapport with our clients.
There are a few things to consider during the meeting:
- Since you are setting the first meeting, it is likely, to begin with, an introduction. So, attach your team’s profiles in the calendar invites. When you send the profiles before the meeting, introduction round goes smoothly and you spend less time on it.
- The first meeting is mostly a meet and greet. Definitely ask questions but keep it simple. You want to portray yourself as a trusted and credible company to work with. Questions like “When did you come up with the idea? When have you started working on it?” encourages clients to tell their story. After all, it’s not about you but the client.
- Try to ask questions at a high level however, prepare for in-depth questioning from clients side. Not all clients are going to be easy going. There might be a few who want the technical details about architecture, programming languages and designs in the first meeting itself. The question pattern can vary as per the domain of your client. If they are working on a SAAS product, they might want to dig deeper into the technical architecture, programming languages, and choice of Database and APIs.
Therefore, know who you are talking with. If they are tech-savvy, involve people who have worked in a similar domain to prove your expertise.
- For reserved clients who are not willing to disclose everything, you need to take the initiative to build trust from your end. Disclose everything from your side, including information that will add value to their solutions. Take initiative to trust clients so they can reciprocate with trust.
Some clients may take more time than others but it’s okay as long as you believe the partnership will work. However, some clients might not be right for you. Despite all the goodwill, it may not be the right fit. You may provide quality, speed, but if your client cannot adapt to a remote team, all the efforts are going to fail. In such scenarios, it is better to part ways. Prioritize aligning with the right people.
This checklist to successfully run your first client meeting is highly transferable and scalable. It lets you collaborate remotely with any client. The objective behind following the checklist is to be prepared in terms of logistics and running the meeting. Every time we meet a new client, we want them to feel that they made the best decision by choosing us.
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