We’ve already covered choosing a productive working environment, but this does not have to be the same as the location where you actually meet with clients.
We’ll cover the positive and negative points for the main meeting options, from a client’s point of view.
By the end you will have an understanding of the options available to you for meeting with clients and can choose which suits the client best.
Firstly, we’ll consider meetings at home. You may have chosen to work from home, so seeing clients at home might be something you would consider.
However, you do need to be aware of the view that a client would have. They will look at the general area nearby and also at your own office space, so these should be in keeping with your profession.
Being able to easily find your home, and to be able to park are other considerations, also whether it’s served by public transport. However, you may also want to separate business and personal life, so would rather that you met somewhere else…
Meetings at Coffee shops can work for both you and the client, you’re in a public space that may be easier for meeting with people.
There will of course be catering and drinks available for the meeting, and if you choose one that is easily reached it will have good transport connections.
The downsides are that sometimes the client will not feel happy discussing their affairs in a noisy environment, and you could find at busy times that there’s no space available to sit down. They may also prefer a different setting which is more business oriented.
However, a local coffee shop is an ideal location if you are meeting someone perhaps in their lunch break, nearer to them rather than to your own home office location.
Hotels are an ideal location for meetings – many hotel managers encourage local businesses to use their open meeting areas, and they usually also have private meeting or conference rooms available should you require one.
As with coffee shops you will have catering and drinks available, usually a car park and good transportation options.
Sometimes the meeting areas can be very busy at peak times so you may not be able to get a seat there – however usually you can be accommodated in the restaurant even though you only require drinks.
When the business grows you may want to make use of serviced offices. For the client the advantage is that you should have an easily reached professional location, and there will usually be reception staff on hand to direct clients when they arrive.
Usually there are also drinks available on site, and in a few cases there may even be catering. The downside is that it’s a cost that you will have to pass on to the client in the form of higher charges, when many may be more than happy meeting at another location – in return for lower fees.
If you take out a contract you need to be aware that this may run for 12 months, so you’re signing up for this liability even if your business moves or ceases. Depending on the location of the nearest serviced office you may also have to put up with commuting to reach it.
One increasingly useful option for meeting clients is actually virtually – that way you both save in commuting time and costs. Whether it’s through Skype, email or telephone – whichever method suits you best can mean that you cover a wider area.
Finally, you can meet at your clients own home or office – it could be that this is a service your competitors don’t offer, so you will have an advantage over them by going out to where it is most convenient for the client.
We’ve covered the various options available to you for client meetings, so you can choose whichever method suits the client best.
With the no fixed cost options, you’re free to move between them as your needs change, rather than being tied into a contract – so that may be of benefit to you particularly initially.