How to Run a Successful New Client Meeting

Everything you need to know about nailing that first meeting with a new client.

Make a good first impression

First and foremost, make a good first impression. As soon as your new marketing client is onboarded, be sure to reach out promptly introducing yourself and expressing your excitement to start work on their project. Remind yourself of the “why”! Whether it’s a small business or a large corporation, understanding the “why” is of the utmost importance. Are they wanting more leads, better local positioning, or just an overall well-structured marketing plan?

Person at laptop typingDo your research!

Consider a client kickoff meeting like a job interview. Just like you would do your research on a company before applying for a job, do your research on the company before going into a meeting with them. It is important to understand their bread and butter, understand their “why”, and how a digital marketing strategy is going to benefit their business. Also, it’s helpful to understand where the client is coming from, what their background is, and what is important to them. This all helps run a successful first meeting.

Have an agenda prepared

Mug of coffee, planner, and pencil on a wood table.Be sure to have an agenda on deck for the meeting that includes that research or any client-provided materials. It can be client-facing or it can be for internal use, but either way, it is essential. A well-structured agenda has the following.

  • Introduction for both the internal and external teams & company
  • Project scope review (be sure to ask if there are any questions!)
  • Expand on the current phase & deliverables (we call it strategy and its the precursor to any marketing or website project)
  • Ask any questions (these should be gathered ahead of time from the internal team) from goals and objectives to proper login credentials
  • Summarize the meeting and provide tangible next steps
  • Follow up via email reviewing the above!

Keep it casual yet professional

First impressions matter! The introduction is a crucial part of the meeting. Be sure not to jump right into the meat and potatoes of the meeting. Slow down, get to know your client, understand their demeanor, and have proper introductions. Your introduction should highlight your strengths that will best serve the client and help achieve their goals. For example, if it is a plumbing client, highlight past successes with your clients in the service industry.

Person working on laptop at cafeKeep the meeting on track & be conversational

Be sure to reel it in. Conversational yet productive is a tricky balance to achieve, but it can be done. Think of yourself (if you’re an account manager) as a narrator, like the ones on TV that have a voice-over throughout the program. Always bring it back, and keep it moving through the agenda you prepared. Be sure to thank your team members and clients alike, to keep the tone positive and respectful.

Make sure to use the client’s name!

Want to keep that positive first impression going? Make eye contact and use the client’s name. Google Hangouts, Zoom, etc., work to your advantage with the user’s name in the bottom right corner, but if the meeting is in person, make a small note at the top of your page with the client’s name, or clients plural. I’m always surprised and delighted when it’s me on the flip side of the conversation and someone new makes it a point to remember my name.

Summarize, review next steps

Like I mentioned earlier, reel it in! You’ve crushed the meeting, and now it’s time to summarize the main points. This is where your agenda comes in handy. I always have it open, take my eyes back to the top, and quickly review what we’ve gone through. Then, ask the client if they have any remaining questions, reiterate your excitement to continue working with them throughout the duration of their project, and review the next steps. These next steps should be tangible! For example, “Next steps include having your team provide us the proper logins for your website by the end of the week, I will set up a recurring monthly meeting this afternoon for us to touch base at, and I will be sending an email with the following next steps outlined within the next couple of hours.”

Follow up with an email

As I mentioned above, send a follow-up email to the client and their team. This email should briefly review the project process, the next steps with associated dates, and end with a gracious thank you!

Closeup of Gmail inbox


You’ll nail it!

It took me a while to successfully and confidently go into client meetings, especially new client meetings. But, the best advice I can offer is to be methodical about it. Methodical yet flexible is the key. There are varying personalities out there, that’s why research is important. The more you understand your client before you kick on the project, the better you will be set up for success. Be sure to remember these six things!

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