What Do Your Clients Really Want?
It's really no secret what your clients and prospects want, they want solutions and leadership. Solutions and leadership demonstrate value to a client. These come from a thorough knowledge of the client's objectives, strategies, existing circumstances, competitive position, and personnel.
Your marketing and sales efforts will be more successful when you offer a solution that:
- Is most visible to the most important people
- Has the biggest impact
- Has the fastest impact
- Has a permanent impact
- Has the quickest pay back
- Is easiest to implement
- Minimizes disruption
- Involves the least effort on the client's side
- Makes the client a hero
- Saves time and/or money
Here are a few ideas that will allow you to add genuine value to your consulting relationship:
- Jump on new information that becomes available internally in the client's organization. Don't wait for the client to give it to you. Then respond with extra analysis or suggestions.
- Spend time helping the client think and strategize.
- Schedule offsite meetings and brainstorm together.
- Be a leader. Help them to see where they need to be five or ten years from now and how to get there.
- Sit in on their internal meetings.
- Get to know all their key personnel.
- Advise them on what competitors are doing and help them benchmark their activities against their competitors'.
- Discuss anything at all that you think they should be doing--they welcome ideas and suggestions.
- Consider placing a manager or associate "on-site" with "A" level clients for a month or so to show interest and get to know how the business really works.
Another important way to provide the value clients want is to emphasize benefits rather than features. A feature is what you have or do. The benefit is what the client (or prospect) will gain as a result of what you have or do. For many professionals, defining the benefits of their service or expertise is difficult. Think of it in this way:
What will he/she Be, Do, Gain or Save as a result of our service?
If you focus on the benefits--what the person will be, do, gain or save as a result of your service--then you will be focused on what the client really wants to know about your work and you will develop loyal clients.
Voice of the Editor
Which isn’t completely true. I mean, occasionally I drop by when I manage to sneak out of the nonstop frat party over at Going Concern, but I’m mostly a wallflower over there. I’m happy to say that I’ve been given express permission (or explicit orders, if you like) to wander over here to AccountingWEB more often.
Why is that, you might ask? My job is to replace the irreplaceable Gail Perry as Editor-in-Chief. What does that mean? I don’t really know! I think it’ll be fun getting a feel for things, throwing in my own thoughts here and there, and listening to the discussions you’re having about the accounting profession.