As a remote worker, who primarily gets to interact with clients via email or Skype conference calls, going onsite to meet with a client is extremely exciting. The face-to-face interaction is one that cannot be underestimated. To have a professional, productive onsite meeting with a client, it takes upfront planning, setting goals, and, the best part, travel. Recently, a team of WDS-ers flew out to Redmond, Washington for an onsite meeting with one of our long-time top clients; and that’s how this story begins…
Searching through my dresser drawers, I found my dress pants nicely folded under about three pairs of yoga pants. I tried them on quickly just to be sure they still fit. It had been about six months since the last time I had to wear them. To my relief, they did. I also grabbed three dress shirts out of my closet to ensure I had my professional attire for the few upcoming meetings with the client. It was a top-tier client. I had to look my best. I was all packed, and ready to head to the airport.
Upon arrival, I was relieved to see my flight was on time. Getting through security was quick, even with my carry-on; so, I walked to grab my coffee, snacks and magazines for the four hour flight ahead of me. As I boarded the plane, to my surprise, I was the only passenger in row 15. I stretched out, set up my computer, and we were finally on our way!
Four hours went by fairly quick after one movie and some light magazine reading. As we landed in Seattle, I was so excited to meet up with a few fellow remote workers. Although I had met these guys only a few times prior in person, we work together day in and day out, so we always give big awkward hugs when we see each other. We quickly grabbed a rental car and were on our way to Redmond.
It was Day One of the onsite client meetings, and I doubled checked that I had everything I needed: computer, computer charger, Day One meeting agenda with questions, goals and an estimated timeline, my driver’s license (for check-in at the client’s offices), pen and paper, and my most professional-looking attire – dress pants, dress shirt, and a spiffy new scarf. Oh, and I made sure that one of us knew the address, building number and meeting room ahead of time. We were on our way.
At the client check-in, we all quickly gave our driver’s licenses to the receptionist. Most clients require some form of identification to get into a secure building. She created a name tag for each of us to ensure that we were approved to be in the building and we headed to the meeting room. The client offered free refreshments that were located just outside of our meeting room. That was an awesome perk! We had our coffee filled, computers open and meeting agendas out.
When the client arrived, we were excited to shake hands in person and interact face-to-face. We all introduced ourselves and sat down to start the four hour scheduled meeting. We followed through the agenda, but really started to dive into the details of how each process and feature would work. Everyone in the room had input and asked questions. We were able to dive into technical details and outline a solid plan for the upcoming development work. We even took over the dry erase board and started doing live wireframes with the client.
Although we could have discussed this scope over various conference calls and emails, the energy and productivity of sitting in that meeting room for a few hours over two days to iron out all of the details with the client in person was truly effective. We have two solid project plans for upcoming development work and it only took three days of travel, two days of onsite client meetings, a meeting agenda, live wireframing and four talented WDS-ers to get it done!
Meeting with the client face-to-face can be extremely effective, especially when mapping out a new scope of work or project plan for a complex development project. It is also a great way to build your relationship with a long-term client. A few key considerations when planning your next onsite client meeting:
- Be open to travel
- Dress in business professional attire
- Have a plan for the meetings and goals to accomplish while onsite
You want to ensure that the time is productive and that you and your client both come out of it feeling accomplished. I personally cannot wait for my next onsite client visit!