Looking for a proven way to engage your clients and strengthen important customer relationships? Set up your next client meeting as an informative, fun and tasty brunch. Discuss important concerns over robust and memorable bites, get business done and wow your clients at the same time. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of client relations to your business. Customer experiences grow into relationships. fuel successful businesses. A brunch meeting, just like any other component of client relations, presents an opportunity for crafting a positive experience. To stay on track, organize the meeting from two perspectives:
- What information do you want to convey? Establish your organization’s communication goals to current and prospective clients when planning for the brunch. A detailed sales presentation on a new product might call for a different approach, structure and menu than a simple meet and greet.
- What is your relationship marketing plan? Crucially, you must infuse the entire process with the goal of organically growing a relationship marketing culture for your business. This can mean many things, from adhering to a unified sales approach to hosting a dynamic client brunch meeting.
Client meetings can take place at different times of the day, with various options for food and refreshment, but brunch offers three special advantages for client relationship building.
- 10:30 am is a productive time! Brunch is not just a meal, but a time of day when minds are fresh and less burdened from the daily routine. Lunch can often be a blur where workers are rushing to get back to tasks, fretting over the clock as the day starts to wind down. A recent Baylor University concluded that employee work breaks in the mid-morning brunch time are more effective at re-energizing for the work day ahead.
- It’s not too early … Asking your clients to meet at the very beginning of the day risks unpreparedness and rushing which are not ingredients for a successful client meeting.
- Brunch is simply different. Sandwiches and salads can be common, mundane, and uninspiring.
The invitation process
An event cannot be successful if people do not attend, so plan well ahead. An invitation is a crucial piece of client communication and should be tailored based on several factors. Consider the following in drafting and sending invitations:
- Format. How do you normally communicate with your clients? Is this brunch a special event, such as an end-of-year gathering? A client recognition brunch might warrant a printed invitation, but a sales presentation might be better attended if communicated through email or a calendar meeting request. If you collaborate with your clients on projects using tools such as Slack or Google Calendar, you may want to use those tools to broadcast invitations.
- Information. Clients want to know who will be attending, what will be discussed, why the meeting is important, and of course, where the meeting will be held. It’s easy to overlook the reason for the meeting, but crafting a compelling meeting purpose can be the key to greater attendance. Always provide an agenda, even if tentative, but go light on the details. You want to entice a client to attend, not overwhelm them with information.
- Timing. Your clients likely get many meeting requests throughout their week. It’s important to give them enough time to review the proposed meeting and respond. Two weeks is the minimum notice to give to your clients, but adapt this as necessary based on the time of year and your knowledge of your clients’ schedules. Be sure to ask for an RSVP, so you can handle the final preparations and food ordering with accuracy.
Setting the stage
Thoughtfully consider your setup, and your venue. You want clients to enjoy the food but also absorb the information being shared and discussed. Participants should have room to eat and take notes during the discussion, so don’t overcrowd tables and provide writing materials. Make one designated area for serving food, and a separate area for beverages so your clients don’t have to battle in line just to get a coffee refill. No one enjoys a plate of cold eggs so make sure you have a buffet warmer if you’re serving warm dishes. And make sure you are stocked with supplies and .
What to discuss? Here are some topics that can be included in your brunch meeting:
- How clients fit in with company goals. What is the organization looking to accomplish in the next year and how does this benefit clients?
- Company milestones – including employee longevity milestones. In my office, it seems there is a birthday, work anniversary or other milestone to celebrate each time we gather. Employees are part of your client relationship marketing strategy, too. We want to work with companies that are good to their people.
- Your company’s latest innovations, new products and services. Are clients aware of all the services you provide?
- What your company has done to give back to its community. A business cannot thrive alone, it needs to give back to the community in order to be a welcome citizen of that community.
- Direct client feedback. Ask for honest input from customers on how your business is treating them, and how you can better serve them.
Combining great food with stimulating and engaging conversation and programming is a sure-fire path to building wonderful relationships. This translates to more business, more referrals, happier customers, and a positive and proactive workforce. Seize that productive mid-morning coffee-break slot, and re-imagine it as a client brunch meeting.