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Business Philosophy

How to Plan Better Small Business Meetings

posted by Michael Epps Utley Michael Epps Utley
How to Plan Better Small Business Meetings

Do you hold a lot of meetings that fail to convert prospects to clients or get the results you want from them? It’s a common issue because it takes time to adequately plan for effective meetings—something many business owners and salespeople don’t have much of. However, proper meeting planning is critical for closing deals and keeping clients happy. This guide explains how.

Meeting Time and Costs Must Be an Integral Part of Doing Business

It’s essential that ALL time spent meeting with prospects and clients is factored into your regular work schedule and pricing structure. Prepping for a consultation must be viewed as a paid, central work activity, not a freebie or throwaway. Doing so will force you and the people who work with you to take a more disciplined approach to meeting planning. Plus, knowing that your meeting time costs money will force you to think about the payoff you get from each meeting.

Get Into the Right Frame of Mind Before the Meeting

If you go into meetings in business-as-usual mode, you’re doing yourself and your prospect or client a serious disservice. You must be completely present to have effective conversations. Listen carefully to concerns, issues, and needs as you would if a family member were communicating with you.

You likely feel professionally concerned when a prospective customer tells you about an issue they are dealing with. However, you’d feel personally worried if the prospect is your favorite aunt and would express deeper interest and care. Showing similar care for prospective customers who are strangers will make them feel special and heard, differentiating your business from less empathetic competitors.

Over time, your relationship deepens with clients. As that happens, you won’t have to pretend they’re family members. You’ll feel that they are.

Complete the Meeting Planning Checklist

Take these steps to ensure you have successful meetings.

Send a Meeting Reminder

Always text or email a reminder one day before a meeting. Include the day, date, time, location, login information, topics to be covered, and expectations for the session. This will help ensure everyone attends and is on the same page before the meeting. If your meetings tend to be formal and structured, a lot of this information can be repurposed as a meeting agenda.

Review Deliverables

Once you align on what a meeting is supposed to cover and accomplish, make sure you have prepared the deliverables needed to communicate effectively and satisfy prospect and client expectations. Ensure you have any presentations, marketing materials, case studies, and sales support required to have an effective session so you come away with a sale or other outcome you want.

Check Equipment and Contact Information

Nothing is worse than a failed phone, computer, microphone, or screen to derail a meeting. That’s why it’s essential to check everything prior to a session. Also, make sure that you’re signed into apps like Zoom and have all the necessary contact information to ensure a smooth meeting. While you’re at it, double-check the attendee list so you know everyone by name and role.

Review Previous Purchases and Interactions

It’s always a good idea to check client histories in your client relationship management (CRM) system so you can reference your past business experiences with them. There’s nothing worse than treating an old client like a new prospect. Conversely, it makes clients feel valued if they think you remember—or know about—their experiences with your organization.

Learn about Prospects and Clients Online

Everybody has an online presence these days, especially on social media. Take time to learn about the people you’re meeting with. You may find out about things you shouldn’t bring up in conversation or shared interests that could connect you.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Of course, you don’t want meetings to feel overly rehearsed or artificial. Still, it’s best practice to pull together some notes about what you want to say and review them before the session.


Always conduct a post-meeting review, whether it’s with yourself or your team members who participated in the session. Figure out what went right and what you could do better next time. And make it a point to include notes about the meeting in your CRM system for future reference.

Meeting Planning: The Final Word

Isn’t it time to stop wasting time on ineffective meetings that don’t get results? Start leveraging the tips in this guide to optimize your meeting time and get exactly what you want out of them.

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