6 Ways to get to know your clients better
by YELLOW 186 Days
Conduct an effective initial client meeting
Your first meeting with a potential client will make or break the success of your long term business relationship. List the topics you want to cover with the client ahead of the meeting, and prepare well-researched and thought out questions. Your ultimate aim should be to understand the client's main objectives, and what they're looking to achieve out of working with you. This is how you can best serve their needs from the get-go.
Understand how your clients work
This is vital in helping you find out how to best guide your client throughout your working relationship. Does your client tend to provide you with a lot of insight into their opinions, and constantly follows up on discussions? Or are they short and sweet in their responses, and not open about their own process? Don't stop short just because your client doesn't work the same way you do. Understand how they work so that you can learn from one another and build on each other's success.
Ask them about their motivations and goals
There will be occasions when your client acts in an unexpected way that makes your own plans for them difficult to fulfil. If a client is asking for last minute changes you had never discussed before, or making requests outside of the scope you initially agreed on, it might be time to identify the underlying problem which needs to be solved. Addressing these kinds of issues early on will keep everyone's focus on the original objectives of the business relationship and, at the same time, help you achieve your client's goals despite any emerging obstacles.
Become familiar with the organisation behind your client
Your client is just one person in a much larger entity. If, for example, your client is difficult to work with, it would help to understand his or her role within the company. Your client might be seeking a promotion and, as a result, is trying to shine for their department bosses at any given opportunity. Identify how your client's team is structured, particularly who reports to who, and ensure that the relevant decision makers from both sides are involved at the key points of your project together.
Don't make assumptions
It's not smart to assume what your clients prefer or believe. It's inevitable that the interaction between your business and your clients will evolve over time. Instead of basing your decisions on past experiences, and on the way the client has acted before, stay updated on the changes happening on both ends of the spectrum - yours and theirs. By discarding assumptions, and always discerning anew what your client wants out of seeking your help, your collaborative working experience will be enhanced.
Remember that they are human too
It might sound obvious, but it's still worth mentioning. Getting to know your clients as people and connecting with them on a social level is essential. This will not only facilitate communication and break the ice, but will also make your own decisions easier. By understanding who your client is and taking the time to get to know them, they will eventually come to trust you and your judgment. They are another person trying to get something done, just like you. Once you show your client that you're in it together to succeed equally, the sky is the limit.
Still need some help in understanding how to best manage clients and interact with them during your daily business dealings?
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