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July 12, 2013

Be the Advantage: Building Strategic Client Relationships

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Jeff Cochran

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If you’re in sales, then you know that the achievement of transactions is the bread and butter of keeping a business going. But your relationships with your clients should not be “transactional” in the same way. Strategizing effectively takes a little more care and insight, and it all boils down to being proactive.

Know Your Client’s Business

The concept of knowing your customer is a basic aspect of business, and for good reason. If you are invested in helping your client achieve their business goals and objectives, then you need to know their business inside and out. You don’t need to have quite the level of comprehensive knowledge that, say, a manager in the industry might, but you definitely need to have a full working knowledge of your client’s business model. Can you answer a simple question? How does your client make money? If you’re coming up empty, then you have some homework to do.

Be Proactive

If you know the ins and outs of your client’s business, including their business motivations and objectives, then you should have the tools to bring ideas to the table when you are working with the client. It’s important to work in collaboration with the client in response to their needs. After the client delineates their needs, you should be able to meet these needs so they can better accomplish their business goals. That’s a pretty basic model – and you’re probably already doing that. But what if you could take it a step further?

If you want to help your client succeed, then you need to be innovative rather than reactive. If a client has already diagnosed their own needs, that’s great. But here is the biggest reason you need to have a comprehensive understanding of your client’s business: you should be able to pinpoint where the client’s business needs are, even if the client can’t see it on their own. If you have an intimate sense of what they do and why they do it, your outside perspective will be invaluable when it comes to building on what’s working and fixing what is not.

Help Them Strategize

Helping your clients strategize means that you can help them figure out how to leverage online tools available to them. You can figure out how to help them meet their needs in a way that works for their budget. You need to help them figure out how best to serve their own clients. By being an advantage for your clients, you drive results and take responsibility for the outcomes.

Sources:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alanhall/2012/06/14/to-succeed-as-an-entrepreneur-know-your-customer/

http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2011/11/28/how-to-be-a-strategic-advantage-for-your-clients/

http://www.searchenginejournal.com/data-to-help-your-clients-strategize-for-2012/38356/

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