How To Run A Productive Consulting Meeting (Agenda Template)

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Do you ever feel nervous or disorganized before running a consulting meeting?

Many consultants — especially when they’re new to consulting — feel uneasy and unprepared when meeting with their clients.

If that sounds familiar, you’re probably coming from the corporate world. You had the luxury of having someone else plan and prepare your meetings.

But as an entrepreneurial consultant, it’s your job to set the meeting agenda and lead it.

Consulting meetings are far more than a mere standard procedure.

Each meeting is an opportunity to add value for your client. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise and to make them feel good about their decision to invest with you.

In this article, I’ll break down:

By the end of this article, you’ll know how to conduct a stress-free, productive consulting meeting.

4 Different Types Of Consulting Meetings

Before we dive into our process for running consulting meetings, let’s discuss four different types of consulting meetings.

1. Sales Conversations

If you’re speaking with a potential client — and you see them as a good fit to work together — this is more of a sales conversation or consultation than what most would describe as a standard consulting meeting.

These meetings aren’t to discuss an ongoing engagement. They are meetings to discuss starting an engagement with the buyer.

Consulting sales is an important subject. It’s one of the main challenges for consultants at every level.

We teach how to master the art of consulting sales in our Clarity Coaching Program.

For sales, it begins with the questions you ask the potential client. For more on that topic, check out our article on the Best Questions To Ask Consulting Clients.

2. Consulting Kickoff Meeting

A consulting kickoff meeting is your first meeting with a client to kick off a new engagement.

They’ve signed the proposal, invested in your services, and are ready to get started.

Typically, you’ll use this meeting to help onboard the client, set expectations, and plan the engagement.

On this call, you’ll also begin setting out the first action steps.

The kickoff meeting is the perfect opportunity to make the client feel they’ve made the right decision in “hiring you”. This is where you take the lead on the project.

At this point, think about how you can get your client a quick win. A quick win helps them feel even better and more confident in your ability and sets the tone for the rest of the engagement.

It’s not about a deliverable. It doesn’t have to be a significant result. Even showing them how they are leaving money or opportunity on the table…or suggesting they look into something they may have overlooked up to this point…can deliver a quick win in the mind of your client.

The kickoff meeting is the perfect opportunity to make the client feel they’ve made the right decision in “hiring you”. This is where you take the lead on the project.

3. Consulting Meeting With Clients

Consulting meetings with clients — the focus of this article — are meetings where you discuss the work you’re doing during the engagement.

One of our favorite approaches for running these meetings is the “Past, Present, & Future” agenda.

When you’re meeting with clients, you want to…

  • Remind them of the work you’ve done
  • Update them on the work you’re doing
  • Plant seeds and excite them about the work you’ll be doing next

If you can do this during your consulting meetings, your clients will be happy to continue investing in you.

4. Meeting To Wrap-Up Projects

If you’re wrapping up a project for a client, you’ll typically have a meeting to end the engagement.

You’ll answer any final questions the client has and provide support to close out the project.

This is the perfect opportunity to win more consulting work with this same client.

How?

Think about the additional value you can create for them:

  • What other challenges are they dealing with that you could solve?
  • What other skills do you have that they would benefit from?
  • In what other ways can you help them reach their desired future state?

If something comes to mind, bring it up with your client. They’ll be much more likely to invest more in you if you’ve already delivered them a result.

If not, then you can still turn this call into new business by…

  1. Asking for referrals. Ask for three people who might benefit from the service you provided for them.
  2. Asking for a case study & testimonial. Turn your work for them into a case study: public-facing marketing material that will help you win more clients.

Every consulting meeting is an opportunity to provide more value — and win more business.

In the next section, I’ll break down how to run consulting meetings with clients.

Clients will be much more likely to invest more in you if you’ve already delivered them a result.

Consulting Meeting Agenda: 3 Phases & Template

If you’re looking to run productive and effective meetings, use our agenda template below.

1. Past

The first thing to discuss is what you’ve previously done for the client.

Discuss the work you’ve done over the past several weeks. Doing so will remind them of the progress you’ve made.

For example, you’re an ERP consultant who is helping a client set up new software. You remind them of the steps you’ve taken so far to set up their ERP software.

You might show them what issues you uncovered. What you did to fix them. And the impact that had.

When you begin your meeting with a brief discussion of the work you’ve done so far, you’re starting off the meeting with what clients love the most: results and tangible, visible progress.

2. Present

The second item on your agenda is what you’re working on currently over the next few days and weeks.

Here, you’re ensuring you and your client are on the same page.

For example, you’re an HR consultant who’s starting to help your client with their onboarding strategy.

Speaking about what you’re working on now helps your client feel confident and excited about their investment in you.

This is a great time to share everything you and your team are currently working on. Any questions, concerns or opportunities should be brought up.

You’re demonstrating that you’re working on solving their current challenges and bringing them closer to their desired future state.

3. Future

The final point of discussion is the work you can do for the client in the future.

Inexperienced consultants miss this. But if you don’t talk about potential work, you’ll miss out on a prime business development conversation.

Based on your past and current work, think about more areas where you can add value.

For example, you’re a consumer goods branding consultant working on a new product branding strategy for a client. You find that their website is lacking, and that’s an area where you could help your client. You bring it up at the end of your meeting.

By bringing up new areas where you can add value, you will often pick up new consulting work on the spot.

There’s no easier sale than someone who already enjoys working with you and who knows the value you bring.

By spending 15-20 minutes preparing for your meetings using this template (writing 3-7 bullet points for each stage), you’ll find your consulting meetings are smooth and stress-free.

Consulting Meeting Case Study

Here’s a real-life example from a client in our Clarity Coaching Program.

Our client was consulting with a nonprofit organization to improve their leadership team.

They were paying him ~$2000 per month on retainer for around ~15 hours of work per month.

Our client knew he was providing more value than $2000 per month.

So, he asked for a meeting to review the project and discuss how to enhance their efforts.

Using our agenda, he wrote some notes on what he wanted to discuss with the client:

  • The work he’d done for them up to the present;
  • The challenges the organization was still facing;
  • And the future work he could do to solve those problems.

Our client also had some specific questions about pricing and structuring the retainer. He wanted to provide more value to the client and increase his fees.

By adopting a confident mindset with his pricing, our client turned a standard consulting meeting into an opportunity to build a larger, more profitable engagement.

In our Clarity Coaching Forum, our B2B coaches chimed in with their advice for the meeting:

  • Start with all the great results and progress and indicate that to maintain that momentum AND build for the future, then additional investment is required. “BTW, as you know I have been growing my practice and my services are in greater demand. We need to establish an engagement that delivers the most value to you and allows me to devote the time necessary to deliver for you. The “maintain momentum option” includes a modest price increase indexed off my current competitive market price.”
  • Don’t be afraid to be a self-serving, servant professional here. You want to feel good about the work and how you are being rewarded. It will create the greatest level of engagement and satisfaction for you.
  • As a consultant I consider I can bring value to my clients in one or combination of the following 5 ways… Increasing revenues, decreasing expenses, saving them time, making their processes easier and improving the overall health of the organization. If you can quantify how you bring value to your client across each of those value drivers you can then set value-based fees that are related to them. Having multiple value drivers quantified positions you to make a very compelling case supporting your fees.

By…

  • reminding them of the excellent work he’d done so far;
  • summarizing their current challenges and how he could solve them;
  • and pitching the future work he could do for them;

…our client created new service options that more than 4X’d his current fee.

The best part?

The CEO of the nonprofit org didn’t balk at the new fee.

And our client is currently working on closing this larger deal that will make both parties happy.

Our client could have approached this meeting passively, giving a standard update.

Instead, he used our agenda.

By adopting a confident mindset with his pricing, he turned a standard consulting meeting into an opportunity to build a larger, more profitable engagement.

Get Customized Help To Make The Most Out Of Every Meeting

For your next meeting, try using our consulting meeting agenda.

Come prepared before the meeting with your notes on the past, present, and future.

You’ll be surprised at how smooth the meeting goes. Not only will it be easier for you, but your client will love how organized you are.

And remember: you’re in the consulting business. Always be thinking about the additional value you can create for your client. Consulting meetings are often a place where you can discuss future business with your client.

If you have specific questions about how to get the most out of your consulting meetings — no matter what type they are — our expert consulting coaches can help.

In our Clarity Coaching program, we’ve helped over 1000 consultants to build a more strategic, profitable, and scalable, consulting business.

And consulting meetings are one of the key skills to master if you want to build up your business.

LEARN MORE ABOUT CLARITY COACHING

We’ll work hands-on with you to develop a strategic plan and then dive deep and work through your ideal client clarity, strategic messaging, consulting offers, fees and pricing, business model optimization, and help you to set up your marketing engine and lead generation system to consistently attract ideal clients.

You’ll learn how to generate more profit with every project you take on — and how to land more clients than ever before. Learn more about Clarity Coaching and get in touch to talk about your situation and goals.

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