How to Drive Success in Customer Advisory Councils with Smaller Attendance

I just completed an inaugural Advisory Council meeting in Orlando where our client had only had a few of their customers attend the meeting. Our client was nervous about the meeting overall because these were executives from their most strategic accounts (Vice Presidents of Supply Chain) that for the most part, they do not have a relationship with today. What added to our client’s nervousness was the fact that only six memcab tablebers could make it to the first meeting.

There are three keys to a successful meeting with limited members:

1.    Client Team – We advised our client to not have more than four members of their team present. You don’t want to overpower the members, especially at an inaugural meeting.

2.    Setting the Pace – For a one day meeting we had our client kick off the day with sharing their strategy for sixty minutes and had three 90 minute sessions. The sessions were heavy dialog vs. monologue, which meant that we could dive into greater detail and gain even more insight. The result was a productive yet relaxed feel to the day which the members and our client enjoyed.

3.    Environment – With six members you can be more informal. As the presenter, I was standing up front, but when we introduced the next session, I had my client stay seated to talk about what they wanted to accomplish from the their session. The key was my client stayed at the member’s level, which provided a more intimate setting.

The quality of the members that arrived and the design of the meeting resulted in a successful Advisory Council meeting. The Vice President of Sales told me during the debrief at the end of the meeting that he was very skeptical about how it would work with just six members but in the end, he was thrilled with the results as were their new members.

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