Running a Client Call

Scheduling a Call

Client calls are usually set forward in the proposal. We should make better use of the Docs and Files section to place the proposal/SOW, GCT, and an access document into each project we start.


Before the Meeting

When you’re preparing for a client meeting, it’s not the same thing as reading an analysis back to them. Since it’s live, demonstrate a full understanding of the material that you’re producing.

For us, that means their goals, content, targeting, and how we’re amplifying it. If we’re running ads, we have to know the backgrounds of each of the people we’re talking to. We prepare a document that analyzes (more than a report) the company’s progress and how to move forward.

Be prepared with everything so that, on the day before, you’ve already sent out the meeting items, there already is a WebEx or Skype meeting that they’re aware of, and the system (or you) will have also sent out a note the day before, saying, “Hey! I am looking forward to seeing you tomorrow.”

Preparing for the Meeting

You will have researched all of these people on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, and you will have connected with them. You will have looked at news that has happened to their company, and loosely know the attendees’ likes and dislikes. When you have all of that, you know you can come to the meeting.

Show up to that meeting five minutes in advance. Never show up after the client. Have the materials ready. Be in a place that has solid WiFi and make sure that you have everything open in advance so there’s no fumbling.

If you’re not sure how to present or haven’t presented before, practice with other people. If there’s enough time, join Toastmasters to learn how to speak with no “ums”, and then you’ll be able to deliver a great presentation.

During the Meeting

During the meeting, you want to take notes. If meeting in person, have a notebook and some paper. Don’t have your laptop open or your phone on the desk. Give full attention, eye contact, and the same level of respect if it’s a WebEx meeting or virtual meeting, where you can’t be typing emails or doing other stuff while the client is talking.

As you take notes, make sure that you are capturing action items, which are items that you or they have to do. Make sure that you know specifically what those items are, when they are due, what the dependencies are, and which things they need to do for you to be successful. Then, at the end of the meeting, , relay back to them by saying, “Okay <client name>, to make sure I understand, here are the things that we said that we would do as part of our follow-up. Does that sound about right? Did we miss anything?”
If there are things that you need from the client, you want to make sure you have those in advance. You should have all of those the day before the call. Don’t have your analysis or the checklist items, but specifically things that you’re going to need from them in advance so that you’re not wandering through the call.

You want to have the call be as short as possible. People expect most calls to last an hour, but we think most calls can last 30 minutes if you follow this framework.

You lay it out in the beginning: discuss the agenda, introduce everybody, and briefly go through the items you are going to cover and what the decisions are. The executive summary is the most important part because this is the information the senior people see if it’s a bigger company.

After the Meeting Checklist

Take time to double-check meeting items for spelling and grammatical errors and then post them that same day.

  • Double-check notes for spelling and grammatical errors. Relay the
    notes to the client.
  • Update everything the same day. (We post into our Basecamp.)
  • Add the follow-up items (also called “action items”) to a to-do list and share it.

For correspondence outside of the scheduled meetings:

  • Email vs. Phone call – This needs to be gauged depending on the dynamics within the client’s organization. For example, if they reached out to you via email, copying their manager or CMO, you generally want to reply to the email thread, as compared to when a client POC or team lead reaches out; then you might want to take it offline for a quick conversation.
  • Scheduling responses – In normal cases, one business day is acceptable unless there’s an issue. You generally do not want to be replying in the middle of the night as that might convey a negative image. Scheduling your responses ensures that they do not see you sweat and, at the same time, gives you some breathing room to do your research and get composed before replying