10 Tips to Help You Avoid an Awkward Initial Client Site Visit

April 3, 2014

Walking into the unknown of an initial client site visit can be nerve-wracking for both the client and the consultants. The sales process has probably gone on for months and normally the client is anxiously wondering…..what now? It is the consultant’s job to arrive onsite and bring positivity to the next phases of the project and follow through with what sales has sold the client.
If these steps are taken in the next phases of the project, it should move smoothly (well at least we would hope).
5 things consultants need to consider/review before going onsite for Kickoff meetings and requirements gathering:

  •  Review all documents related to the project; including SOW, Timelines, Client Org Chart (if available) and Sales Notes. Make sure to read the SOW the night before you are on client site to make sure it is fresh in your brain. Also keep a copy in your briefcase for reference.
  • Provide the client with a thorough agenda so that they are able to bring the key decision makers in. Make sure to add adequate breaks and time for lunch.
  • Make sure that a demo environment is setup so that you can reference it in the requirements meetings. If it is another client; make sure their name is kept out of the screens and screenshots. Provide an initial training (core concepts) to the client if available; this is where you would discuss the basic terminology.
  • Create a list of questions that seem unclear from the SOW or sales handoff meetings.
  • Have a logistical understanding of the area where the client is located. Make sure the hotel is close to the client; and anticipate traffic on your first day.

5 things clients need to consider and review before consultants come onsite for Kickoff meetings and Requirements gathering:

  • Determine the correct resources needed for the initial meetings. (HR, Payroll, Operations, Mgmt team). Make sure all of the key decision makers are able to attend the meetings.
  • Ask the consultant for the items that are needed for a successful requirements session. The items usually consist of: Comfortable conference room, enough chairs, snacks, laptops, paper, projector, and dry erase boards with pens.
  • Setup a shared drive for the project; Set up an implementation folder that includes the SOW, notes from the meetings, and project documents.
  • Determine the concerns that you are presently facing with your current system (or lack of system). Make a list of items that you intend to get out of the new system. Bring these to the Requirements gathering sessions.
  • Attend all meetings, including project kick off, course training (core concepts). Keep an open mind. The implementation consultant will help guide you towards the best practices for your company to have a successful implementation; keep that in mind before you say no to their ideas.

While some of these steps may seem obvious, remember, your client is getting to know you and your team for the first time. A missed step early on can start off a client/ consultant relationship on the wrong foot. It is often the obvious steps that get overlooked but should be the easiest steps to remember. You can never plan for every contingency but by taking care of the basics right off the bat, you can gain the confidence of your client and establish a positive working relationship which will foster positive results for both parties.