The euphoria of winning a new client can easily see a team diving headfirst into delivering the inaugural project, but taking time to engage in some essential planning and preparation now can pay dividends in the long run. What’s important in these early stages is getting to know your client.
At HGB, we’ve celebrated, we’ve jumped for joy, we’ve popped the champagne, and yes, we’ve sighed with relief. But we’ve also developed some useful strategies to enable us to better understand our client. Here are our five top tips for getting better acquainted.
1. Look ’em up on LinkedIn
We’ll admit it, we all love to while away a few hours on social media, but LinkedIn is the professional person’s social channel so any time spent on that is work, right? Yes, we thought so. In addition to the networking opportunities it provides, LinkedIn is also one of our most valuable research tools. Looking up a company’s page on LinkedIn and scrolling through staff members’ profiles gives us real insight into our new client. It immediately tells us how they like to describe themselves, we can see the type of articles they’re interested in, what topics they post on, and the comments they make. In other words, it’s a way for us to discover what they value. But we let them know we’re doing our research. We’ll send them invitations to connect, reinforcing our desire to work with them and establish a rewarding ongoing partnership.
2. Understand their BHAG
At HGB, our BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal as coined by Jim Collins) is to be recognised asspecialists in targeted marketing. We’re not afraid to share this BHAG with others because we believe the more people who can share in the journey with us, the more fun we’ll have along the way. That’s why we want to know our clients’ BHAG as well. We want to know what drives them to come to work each day, what fuels their fire for business success. Understanding that helps us to tailor our services for our clients’ benefit, to get the results they’re after – and more!
3. Develop buyer personas
Who are your customers? How old are they? Where do they live? What do they like to do? These are the questions we ask each of our clients before we get started on any project, be it a brand strategy, a website review, or advertising campaign. We have found that taking the time to develop buyer personas for each type of customer our clients have is invaluable. It gives us a greater understanding of our clients’ target market, helps us appreciate their goals, challenges, and objectives, and also gives our clients an opportunity to evaluate their audience too. You could say it’s us being nosey; we say it’s us doing our job.
4. Know their competitors
When you were putting your proposal together to win your client, we bet you sussed out the competition. If you didn’t, you should have! We always like to know who we’re up against. Are we competitive? You bet we are. And we take this same approach when getting to know our clients. We want to know who their competitors are. Who are they up against in the fight for customers? We’ll look at competitors’ websites, we’ll look at their clients, we’ll look at previous work they have done, and we’ll look them up on LinkedIn too. Why do we want to know? Because, by learning about the competitors, we can ensure any work we do for our clients, helps them to be better. We want our clients to be faster off the mark, we want them to be leaders in their field. We don’t just want them to be good at what they do, we want them to be the best!
5. Challenge them
“The bigger the challenge, the greater the opportunity.” – anon
At HGB, we’re always on the lookout for great opportunities and to get them we challenge ourselves. Not just ourselves, but our clients as well. It’s interesting to see how they react to something out of their comfort zone, as that can tell us a lot about them. How risk averse are they? Do they welcome the challenge? Are they happy to push the boundaries?
As Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong she is until she’s in hot water.” We want to see the strength of our clients, and to turn that strength into the power to get results. But to do that, we first need to know them and sitting down over a hot cup of tea is a great way to start.