How Well Do You Know Your Best Clients?
Do you know what keeps your best clients up at night? What their biggest goals or concerns are? Do you know who their biggest competitors are, what they're reading, which teams they root for?
If you are not spending at least some time learning more about your best clients (and those you would like to move into your "best client" category), then you deserve to lose them when your competitor takes the time to do what you're not doing.
How can you learn more about your best clients? Charlie Miller and Ronna Cross of Patton Boggs LLP in Washington, D.C. suggest ten categories for mining your queries.
- Annual Reports: What would you like to know more about? How could the answer help you develop more business?
- News Stories & Press Releases: Lots of fodder here for more info.
- Competitors: Who are they and how are they differentiated from your client?
- Industry/Association Notable Events: For example, what's going on in their industry or association that could impact on their future?
- Growth Opportunities: What is their strategic plan for the next one to five years? How will they assure the results they are targeting? (HINT: Your opportunity for more work could be hidden in their answers.)
- Regrets: What do they wish they had done differently in their business or wish they could do over?
- Legislation & Regulation: How will pending changes in the law affect their business? (HINT: Check the headlines for issues that might suggest specific questions.)
- Business & Personal Goals: How can you help them achieve their most important goals? Who might you introduce them to? What resources might you have that could support their objectives?
- Reading: What are they reading? What subjects interest them? What industry pubs are must-reads? (HINT: Start reading those pubs right now!)
- Meetings & Events: What are the not-to-be-missed meetings and events they attend. (HINT: Do I even need to say?)
Turn to social media first
I encourage clients to turn to social media first for information that will suggest connecting points.
- LinkedIn: Look for where your clients and targets went to school, what teams they might support, charitable organizations and boards that are close to their hearts, hobbies and interests they persue. It's all right there in front of you. (Did you know I enjoy motorcycling?) Note what groups they belong to and make a point of joining those groups and posting comments to begin establishing a connection.
- Twitter: Follow who your targets follow. Tweet when it's appropriate.
- Facebook: Does your target's company have a Facebook page? Don't know? Better find out!
- Newsletters & Blogs: Does your target's company publish a newsletter or blog? What are they talking about? What could you add to the conversation?
Let your curiosity lead you.
Still stuck? Let your curiosity lead the way.
Until next time,