Client meetings can be essential for establishing and maintaining beneficial working relationships. While you may not need to meet often, you want every connection to be constructive and highly effective.

This process can be tricky for some people, particularly if you’re not used to holding meetings or talking with clients. If you need a helping hand to make sure your next client meeting goes off without a hitch, the following information should help.

Don’t Arrive Empty-Handed

Whether you’re holding a meeting in-house, visiting your client’s workplace, or getting together in a public space like a café, have something to offer your client. You might treat them to corporate gifts that have your brandings, such as a notebook or reusable coffee cup, or you might decide to purchase their coffee if you’re at a café.

Arriving with a gesture of thanks can be the ice-breaker you need to discuss things like pricing, products, and services. It can also show your prospective or current client that you value the relationship and appreciate the time they’ve taken to join you.

Determine the Meeting Type

The type of meeting you’re holding can dictate your approach since you may have different goals. Introductory client meetings can require a significant amount of research, whereas client update meetings generally occur when you already have an established relationship.

Business consulting meetings and proposal meetings are also common, and these require you to gain a deeper understanding of your client and be prepared to win them over. Once you’ve established the meeting type you’re aiming for, you can form a plan of attack that ensures you’re a highly effective host.

Do Your Research

To be able to converse with confidence, it’s vital to research the company and the person you will be meeting. Find out what their morals and values are and how you believe they would like to be treated.

For example, a little social media research may reveal that the CEO you’re about to meet is vegan. In this case, you may want to skip the steakhouse for lunch and ask a vegan friend for advice on where to hold the meeting. This kind of research can be the difference between a successful meeting and an embarrassing failure.

Match the Meeting Type With a Suitable Location

Having identified the meeting type you’ll be holding, it’s now time to choose a suitable location. Surprisingly, this can make or break a highly effective client meeting.

A casual catch-up or introductory meeting may work well in a café, while intensive proposal meetings may suit conference rooms or the client’s workplace. If you simply need to run over a few ideas or seek clarification on a project, a video call over Zoom or a similar platform may be the most efficient option for both parties.

Set Intentions

Time is money, and the more time you spend doing something, the more it costs. Before scheduling a meeting, set intentions for that meeting so that you can fit everything in without running overtime.

Write a list of notes, set a timeframe, and move through your list with as much efficiency as possible. While you don’t have to skip niceties, your clients are bound to appreciate how little of their time you take up because it shows how much value you ascribe to it.

Not every meeting you hold will be effective or productive, but some can certainly be more so than others. Take the time to plan your meetings, think of an appropriate gift or gesture, and research the company. Your appointment will then have a much higher chance of producing the outcome you desire.