Planning a Client Visit, Part 3: Final Prep

You’ve refined your story, prepped your team and picked up a roll of quarters just in case parking is a problem. Now, it’s time to round up the team and head out! Here are some tips for the 24 hours preceding your visit:
1. Remind your team the day before. Send an e-mail to the team the day before reminding them about the meeting. Ask them to confirm receipt. If you don’t hear from someone, make a point of talking to him or her in person before they leave work for the day. Be sure everyone knows:

  • Departure/meeting/return time
  • What to bring (laptops? notepads? handouts?)
  • Dress code

2. Confirm you have enough room for everyone—and everything—in your vehicle(s). If you have an early morning meeting, do this the day before. If you have an afternoon meeting, check in the morning in case you need to round up another vehicle and/or driver. Keep in mind the number of people riding, but also any materials they are bringing. (Two people might fit fine in your Volkswagen, but the giant display might prove challenging.)

3. Perform a dress-code check. Find a reason to stop by each person’s desk and ensure they are dressed appropriately. In my experience, people who were not dressed for meetings often volunteer that they are going to get dressed before the meeting. In one case, I had a team member who had forgotten about the meeting. Fortunately, he had time to run home and change. Have a sense of humor about it and your team won’t mind.

4. Make sure there is gas in the car(s). An unplanned stop for gas both eats time and adds stress to an already intense situation. You don’t have to fill it up, but do make sure you have enough gas to at least reach your destination without driving on fumes.

5. Give every driver directions. If you have multiple drivers, ensure everyone has directions, the complete address and cell phone numbers for people in the other car(s). Include any information about traffic, parking etc. that you learned in your preparations.

6. Never leave a person behind! Some team members might want to drive themselves, particularly if a meeting is at the end of the day. If someone asks to drive himself, trade cell phone numbers and ensure he leaves at the same time you do. I have made the mistake of leaving someone behind who was going to be “just five minutes”—and ended up returning to pick him up when he discovered his car battery was dead.

Better Know Your Client
Prepping Your Team

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