Now we all know, or at least we should, that Customer Advisory Council meetings are not intended to include sales presentations and that anything that even hints at selling is a recipe for disaster. Don’t do it…. ever. Resist the temptation at all costs as you will lose the trust of your board members and could cause irreparable damage to your existing relationships.
That said, members of your executive team should indeed, do these five things to prepare for a Customer Advisory Council meeting:
- Do the match-up analysis. Take time prior to the meeting, perhaps en-route to the meeting destination so it’s good and fresh, to review the profile and photo of each member. Knowing each member's responsibilities, background, and interests will help you connect with them on a more personal basis and help you introduce them to their fellow Council members. Additionally, during the Prep Session, assign an executive to serve as “host” to 1-2 Advisory Council members, especially if they are new to the group.
- Know the stats. Review company profiles, financials, recent news and press releases, and have an understanding of the volume and types of business they do with you. This information will help you better understand their perspectives on key issues discussed during the meeting.
- Identify the 1-2 things to win. Since these are your top customers, chances of good that you have deals pending. Know what they are, what it will take to win them, and any other opportunities that may be coming your way.
- Calculate the risks. Likewise, know if there are any unresolved customer-service issues that may come up in conversation. You don’t want to be caught off-guard and ill-prepared to address them if they do.
- Understand the game-changers. Know who the other key leaders are and how your Advisory Board Members may influence them.