How and when do you end your remote meeting?

It’s all about planning and time management – here’s a typical scenario…

Earlier today, you had two back-to-back remote customer meetings. Although you don’t like it, this happens quite often since you work from home. In your first meeting, you delivered a technical proof demo to a prospect. They’d like to decide before the summer holidays and you are on a shortlist of three vendors.

This prospect was very engaged, but you ran over the hour. As your other client was already waiting in your next call, you were a bit distracted during the last question. You quickly thanked the prospect and told them that you would get in touch later in the afternoon. Your champion replied, “That will be a problem as we have some questions, and we have another vendor’s presentation later today. Can we have a chat over lunch? Not knowing what to do, you replied, “I will call you later today” and ended the meeting…

The prospect in your second call was not amused that you were late. That was a bad start and it affected the rest of the meeting. After this second meeting, you tried to call the first prospect, but didn’t get a response. You wondered what they had wanted to discuss. This kept you occupied for the rest of the day.

Would this have happened in an onsite presentation?

When an onsite presentation or meeting has finished, you usually close your computer, pack your stuff, and someone walks you to the lobby. You might also stay a bit longer and talk with some people in the audience and might answer some additional questions before you leave. Sometimes you drink a cup of coffee with your champion or others before you go. As we all know, what happens at the coffee machine is more important than the rest of the meeting. The magic happens there!

So, how do you do this in a remote meeting?

Actually, this is possible in a remote meeting as well. The most important thing is to finish before your scheduled end time. So, when your demo meeting is scheduled from 10 – 11 AM, this means that you deliver your summary and talk about the next steps no later than 10:50 AM. In the remaining 10 minutes, you answer some additional questions, and you gear the conversation towards getting firsthand feedback on what they have seen.

If your customer is engaged and excited, they likely have more questions to ask. It is also likely that a small part of the audience wants to discuss some details that are irrelevant to the rest of the group.  To accommodate this (note that this is an excellent buying signal!), you need to remain on the call after 11 AM.  Stay available for anyone wanting to discuss more. Leave the Zoom or WebEx meeting last. You might say something like, “We are nearing the end of our scheduled time together. I’ll be around for an additional 15 minutes. So, if you would like to continue our conversation, please remain on the call. Many thanks for your time and attention”.

To make this work, it is important not to schedule your meetings back-to-back. Make sure that you have at least 30 minutes between the calls. Fifteen minutes to end your first call properly and fifteen minutes to prepare and start your next call ahead of time to welcome your second prospect.