Maybe you’ve been chasing a sales lead for months and finally confirmed a meeting with a stakeholder who can make or break the deal. Alternatively, you may be a retailer offering one-on-one appointments with VIP customers for services that range between consultations to preview nights. Regardless of who your customer or prospect is, booking the appointment is only the first step in developing a long-lasting relationship. The next step is providing a meeting experience that is just as seamless and personal as the initial booking.

If you’ve committed to making appointments with clients at the right stage of the customer journey and gone through the process of matching them up with the right staff, here’s how to go the last mile to ensure all the hard work upfront pays off and the experience feels tailored for each individual.

Know your Customer and Anticipate Their Needs

In short, be prepared. And by that, we mean go beyond printing out the basic facts that the CRM spits out about your client or prospect. Look through a more detailed history, if possible and try to understand why they are meeting with you now. Are they looking for information to help them make a decision? Have they already purchased a product and need more advice on how to get started? Or are they a loyal customer who is unsure where to go next with your product or services?

By doing extra research, you’ll be better able to anticipate questions or concerns, and be ready with responses instead of having to pause in the meeting and say, “I don’t have an answer to that question, but I’ll get back to you later today with more information.”

Create an Agenda

This is especially important for sales teams or specialists, like mortgage brokers, who tend to go through similar scripts multiple times a day. By stopping to create an agenda and sending it to all meeting participants at least 24 hours in advance, you not only force yourself to visualize how you want to conduct the meeting, but it’s also a good opportunity to gather more information. When you send out the agenda, ask for input and encourage participants to add their own items to the agenda. This small step helps to build buy-in and ensure you’re not the only one committed to making things happen.

This little trick is about as close to being a mind reader as you can get when it comes to those on the other side of the phone or conference table. For those in sales, our friends at Sales Hacker created a great checklist on how to create and follow an agenda for more productive meetings that lead to successful outcomes.

Be Personal

Even if you’ve reviewed notes, looked at a customer’s history, and have deep insights into their needs, you still need to be personal. Don’t act like a robot. Use first names and make conversation in a way that feels natural and friendly. But keep in mind there is a fine line between being less buttoned-up and seeming creepy. Don’t let them know you’ve stalked their social media accounts all week. Think of it like a first date, you want to show interest and put your best foot forward but draw the line at looking like a stalker who makes the other party want to hit the block button.

Follow-Up at the Right Time

And just as important as acing the meeting, known when and how to follow-up. Even if your meeting was a smashing success and they signed paperwork or closed the deal, don’t let the relationship end there. Decide what’s best for each client. Does it make sense to send out automated follow-up appointment requests based on behavior, or are there opportunities to extend invitations to VIP events or classes to keep customers engaged?

Whenever you do follow-up, be sure to keep the lines of communication open with updates about products and services you know your customer cares about and links to intelligent appointment scheduling, enabling the customer to initiate future meetings, too.

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