Account managers regularly conduct meetings with some of the busiest professionals in the healthcare industry. These meetings offer a critical opportunity to exchange thoughts with clients, receive feedback, and explore new pathways to grow the account. However, it is just as easy for these events to go awry.
As an account manager, you owe your clients the courtesy of proper preparation. Here are five easy steps you can follow to plan winning meetings that will deepen your client relationships and secure new business for your firm.
1.Take Time to Prepare
Every successful meeting begins with thorough preparation.
First, decide who will attend. Keep meetings as small as possible. If possible, find out how many people the client is bringing and make sure to include relevant people from your own organization.
If you do not know some of the people in your client’s party, be sure to check their LinkedIn page to learn more about them before you meet them in person.
Make sure that everyone who is set to attend the meeting knows when and where it will take place. If the meeting is online, make sure that everyone has access to the right software and has received any links or account access they need to participate.
Finally, figure out how long it will take you to get to the venue on the day of the meeting, then add an extra half-hour or so to account for detours, delays, and last-minute preparations. This ensures that you will have more than enough time to arrive before the client and set up the room.
2.Sort Out Your Logistics
Once you know how you want your meeting to go, think about what you will need to have ready to make things go smoothly.
Do you have backups of all the files you need for your presentation? Is the conference room’s equipment working properly? If there is an online component to the meeting, is the office’s internet connection stable? Are there enough chairs for everyone? If you will be serving coffee and snacks, how will you get them to the conference room? Will someone be taking notes, and if so, who?
Planning for all of these factors minimizes the number of interruptions you will experience during your meeting and makes you and your company look like consummate professionals.
3.Establish a Framework
Before the meeting begins, ensure that everyone is on the same page by quickly reviewing your goals for the day and how much time you have allotted for the event. It may also be helpful for you to use your strategic account management training to create a brief elevator pitch for any products or services you are planning to bring to the client’s attention.
Laying these details out in advance gives your meeting some direction and a clear endpoint that respects everyone’s time. Setting these guidelines in advance reassures your clients of your professionalism and makes it easy for you to keep the meeting focused and productive.
4.Account for Different Communication Styles
The way you present information in a meeting can have a significant impact on that meeting’s outcomes. Some people enjoy some social chitchat up-front to break the ice, while others prefer to get straight to business matters. Know your audience’s communication style and adapt your presentation style to suit them. This will keep your clients engaged and reinforce their confidence in your skills.
However, remember what you learned about your company culture during your employee onboarding training; many organizations frown on taking too casual an approach, and your communications choices should remain consistent with internal expectations.
Account managers typically come to the meetings with a lot of reports, presentations, and information that they want to share with the client. In their eagerness to offload all that information, sometimes they forget to allow time to listen and let the client share their most pressing concerns or ideas. Sometimes the reports you want to share are not as important as the new ideas the client might be thinking about, as it might uncover new opportunities for your growth together. So, make sure to ask the clients some open-ended questions and then listen!
6.Follow Up Afterwards
Good follow-up after a meeting is critical for reinforcing the customer experience.
Thank each attendee for their time and include a short summary of the key points covered during your time together. Doing this demonstrates that you are committed to understanding your customers’ needs and are making the most of every learning opportunity. It also shows the kind of initiative and leadership That are hallmarks of good customer service.
Master Meetings for Account Management Success
When your next meeting comes up, put these tips into action and witness the difference they make. With the right approach, you and your clients will all leave feeling focused and confident that you are on the right track.
Interested in further development? The Brooks Group is a leader among America’s pharmaceutical market research companies and healthcare consulting firms. We provide training programs that help account managers sharpen the skills they need to succeed. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you develop your sales skills, market knowledge, and customer relationships.