Giving you the right track to run on

A fortnightly pearl of wisdom to fast track your success

CHRISISM #48 - Physical Positioning of You and Your Client

22 August 2017

Physical Positioning of You and Your Client

Have you given much thought to how you set up a client meeting from a physical positioning perspective? If not, you may want to give some consideration to this issue once you have read this article.

The first thing to appreciate on this topic is that, in order to have control over the environment in which you see your clients, you really need to be seeing your clients in your office not theirs. This is especially important for a first meeting with a client, but slightly less so for future meetings. Apart from the control factor and the fact that, if your client is the one having to make the effort to get off their arse and come and see you, then there is an implied open-mindedness to doing business with you, I was always told from day one in the business that professionals have people come and see them in their office, whereas salespeople go out and see people in their office or home.

Provided you have a half decent office, your prospect will be able to reassure themselves that you are not working for some fly by night company, and so as long as you now step up to the plate and do your bit to the max, there will be no obstacles to them becoming a long term client.

But even if you are seeing prospective clients in your office for that first meeting, you can undermine a lot of the advantages of doing so by getting the physical positioning of you and your client(s) wrong.

Do any of you set up the meeting with you sitting on one side of a desk or table and your client(s) sitting on the other side of the desk or table? If so, I strongly recommend you reconsider this set up. The reality is that most professionals (e.g. accountants, solicitors etc.) will set up a client a meeting this way – with them on one side of a desk/table and the client(s) on the other side and indeed this is probably what your client is expecting. However, this positioning in my view is an absolute no-no! It is extremely territorial, it smacks of a me and a you scenario and it places a huge barrier between you and your client(s).

Sitting alongside your client (or in a semi circle if it is a couple) promotes a “we” scenario rather than a me and you scenario, it immediately promotes collaboration rather than confrontation and smacks of teamwork rather than me vs you. It also means that the client can see everything that you are writing – nothing is hidden and most importantly, because there is nothing between you and your client, all the body language signals are visible to both parties.

These days I believe that meeting rooms typically with round tables are the most common environments in which client meetings take place, so the key in this set up is to make sure that you are sitting alongside your client or in an arc or semi circle with a couple rather than sitting across from each other with the table in between you and your client(s).

Whatever the set up may be for meetings in your office, just try and ensure that there is no furniture in between you and your client and that you are sitting alongside your client rather than across from your client – this way I believe you will have the best opportunity of nurturing a more meaningful client relationship as well as creating a quality experience for your client. 

The Risk Workshop by Chris Unwin

Are you a financial adviser who would like all of your clients to have appropriate types and levels of personal protection? But perhaps you feel you need a more structured and client friendly engagement process?