Every interaction you have with a client is a new opportunity to build client capital and earn that person’s trust. With that in mind, it is important to always be prepared for a meeting.

How do you prepare for client meetings? Do you feel you rush from one engagement to the next, sometimes getting confused about the purpose of a specific meeting? Have you forgotten an important point, only to remember it hours after you have parted ways with the client? Have your meetings suffered from a lack of organization in the past?

Planning the client conversation ahead of time will let you ensure that all the essential topics are covered, saves both you and your client time and will add a bit of structure to the conversation. Below are four steps that I think can help you run more effective (and pleasant) meetings with your clients.

  1. Email an agenda to the client two weeks beforehand. It should outline the purpose of the meeting, any questions you have and main discussion points. Attach or list any relevant documents and encourage the client to add topics or questions that he or she wants to cover.
  2. One week before the meeting, have your assistant call the client to verify that he or she received the agenda and confirm the appointment. Your assistant should take time to review the agenda over the phone. This gives the client another chance to add to or update the agenda and ask any other questions before you meet.
  3. Once again, the day before the scheduled meeting, call or email the client to confirm. Every communication with a client should leave room for answering questions or clarifying a point of confusion. This step can also save you time in the event that a client needs to cancel but forgot to notify you sooner.
  4. Call the client before arriving at their office or home and enquire if they would like a coffee or tea or simply show up with a small box of cookies or chocolates. These personal touches can surprise your client and add a friendly tone to the relationship.

Why devote all of this time to a single meeting? Because, as mentioned above, every meeting, phone call and email message is a chance to prove your worth. You never know how the extra attention that you give to a client will impact his or her decision to continue working with you. The way you increase and retain client capital can be a differentiating factor in how the people you serve perceive the value of what you do.