This is actually an internal training doc that I thought I’d publish for you as some tips for running client calls…. Enjoy!
1. Start with a plan. ALWAYS start with “Is it still a good time for you to talk?” It’s courteous & you don’t want to talk to someone that’s preoccupied. ALWAYS have an agenda, introduce it at the beginning, and then ask them if they’d like to add anything to the agenda.
IMPORTANT :: If the client is even slightly unhappy… identify and focus on the biggest areas of opportunity. Never focus on the negative. What are some potential wins on the horizon?
2. Assuming makes an ass…. Whenever you’re using “lingo”, verify that the client understands what you mean. If you have really positive results to present, try your best to poke holes in it. Usually clients will throw you curve balls when you present really strong data.
3. Get to know the client. Every client is different. Some want to know all the little details. Others could give two shits about the details. Knowing where your client falls on this spectrum, and tailoring your reviews to their desires is of HUGE importance.
4. Let them steer sometimes. This allows you to learn what’s on their mind, what’s important to them, and what they want to talk about. It will always lead to good things.
5. Educate. Anybody can run a project or be the main point of contact. But by taking the time to educate clients in the areas of their interest, all of a sudden makes you their consultant. So instead of just thinking of you as their SEO guy, they’re going to go to you with any high-tech problem that you have… because they know you know your shit, and by educating them on what you know, you establish trust and credibility. Then they’ll hire you for other stuff.
6. Mensch out. Always be a do-gooder. Be honest and transparent with clients, even if it’s not easy in the moment. Never lie. Think in terms of what’s best for them. This is a must. It will lead to much greater success over the long-term. There are some instances where it is okay to withhold some information… that is, when it’s not an immediate detriment to the client. But if there is a piece of information that’s imperative for them to know, never bend or withhold it.
7. Be excited and invested in their “Win”. Clients hire us to help them win. Take a genuine interest in doing everything in your power to help them win, and you don’t need to remember any other rules. All of this stuff will flow to you like water.
NOTE: Not all clients have the same “Win” concept. In fact, no two clients have the exact same concept of winning. Their concept depends on their immediate situation and will change over time. Always verify that you have an accurate understanding of what their win is specifically (more leads, to look good in front of the boss, to have a go-to web team, concepts range across the board), and demonstrate that you get it.
8. Always have the next call scheduled. Bi-weekly calls should be good for most clients. This ensures you don’t get sidetracked or forget about stuff.
9. Always take detailed notes and be disciplined with documentation. This is another trick to help things not fall into the abyss or be forgotten about. It also makes it so that you can share resposibility. Don’t be a superhero. Always get help. This makes it so that stuff can happen without your direct involvement.
Things to do Before a Call
1.) Prepare thoroughly & develop an agenda.
2.) Share the agenda with the client ahead of time & ask for questions.
3.) Clarify who’s calling who / setup conference bridge.
4.) Re-confirm call time & number 3-5 hours before it’s to start.
Things to do Right After a Call
1.) Clarify your notes.
2.) Upload to call notes on V1
3.) Notify the PM about the call notes.
4.) Delegate appropriate tasks pertaining to the meeting.
5.) Make sure said tasks are completed in a timely manner.
That’s it! Hope you enjoyed & that you use these tips for running client calls for the good of all involved. -Chris M.
(P.S. – If you enjoyed this article, you might like these 5 tips for running a successful new client kickoff meeting.)