Stand Out By Changing Up Your Meeting Venues

A deservedly popular independent café owner was busy telling me how important ‘change’ was. Specifically, change in the sense of re-vitalising or altering. A refresh in her space of decor, menu, environment.

People visit in their droves in part because the cottage in which she operates is amazingly curated. Nothing is false, everything is authentic. There’s no hipster over-styling, only a wonderful natural ‘thoughtful nonchalance’ that beautifully reflects the personality of she who puts it all together.

She recounted how customers were always telling her they really appreciate how something’s always changing. From delicious new menu items, to taking down all the pictures on the walls to paint them a dazzling Summer white, to creating the most marvellous marble top counter for communal coffee chatting.

One latest idea a while back was the above pictured wall installation. Opposite a massive full-wall mirror. Loads of instagram polaroids of her customers, their delightful clothing, accessories and smiles, printed out and fixed in a huge heart shape.

People are apparently always stopping to examine and take their own photo of it as they leave the shop.

In this case, change is truly inspiration.

I remember I blogged a couple of years ago that ‘customers love motion’. That was in the context of anti-procrastination.

This kind of heart-shaped change-up though ought be readily applied by us on our solution endeavours. One parallel immediately struck me; Meetings.

We may have little control over marketing collateral or product tweaks, yet we can influence how we engage in person with our prospects.

Part of the problem I know buyers bemoan with our kind is that every face-to-face forum is same old same old. Various studies into typical meetings per deal are tricky to assign across the board. You know how many times you need to see the whites of the eyes. Yet the format will remain obvious.

Rock up at the office or site, stride aside a familiar conference table or desk, the usual offerings of standard drinks. Someone forgets to set an agenda, you fall into shooting the breeze, then shake hands later not fully knowing what’s going to happen next.

I sense there’s great scope to inject differentiating vitality here.

It made me think of a time when I’ve borrowed space at a client. It was because I was there all day on a gig, but they were happy for me to entertain a prospect at theirs. After all, the more clients I had the better for them too, right. And whilst never proposed as a reference visit, it did have the power of a successful one in its impact.

I also had success leaning on the so-called foyer market. Rather than meet in a hotel lobby, or indeed coffee store, someone I once pitched was a mad Man United fan. When they opened their Red Café inside their Old Trafford site, it was a no-brainer to suggest.

I’ve also jumped on when a prospect has been visiting sister corporate facilities. It can make such a difference if you go meet them there too. They can bask in the glow of looking more important, and you gain the tried and tested ‘tour’ treatment as well.

The marketplace for rented meeting space has exploded over the past two decades. Pretty much everywhere has manifold cool options. I’m chuckling as I tap thinking of renting a room deliberately opposite a prospect’s largest competitor.

There’s plenty of options for shaking this potentially dull routine a little. And that’s before we even get to how you run such meetings too…

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