Archive | January, 2011

How do you stay connected to what your clients REALLY need from you?

If you are a marketing professional, how do you stay tuned to the dual role you have?

On the one hand, you help the organization to connect more efficiently with their customer base.

If your clients are anything like mine, they probably know they need help with:

  • finding ways to increase the volume of work done for each client
  • increasing the longevity of each client relationship
  • identifying which clients are most profitable and where we might find more like them
  • clarifying which clients are least profitable and either find economical ways to serve them or ways to share the work potential with others who could serve them more efficiently
  • providing solid and tangible discussion ideas to fuel conversations with clients and prospects (based on research and market trends)
  • Making it easy/easier to stay in touch with existing clients by providing tools and systems to provoke connections

On the other hand, you are uniquely placed to help your internal clients develop the knowledge, skills and business acumen they need to serve their client base profitably.

That makes marketing both a functional expertise and a means for aligning strategy and organizational culture.

  • Helping to coordinate activities more effectively across the business, so we amplify rather than duplicate efforts
  • Helping to determine which behaviours enhance the firm’s reputation and contribute towards the organizations strategic goals, and which behaviours are holding them back
  • Helping to develop trust and respect for each other’s contribution and expertise so they can confidently broaden relationships with our clients across different practices or business units
  • Helping to establish more systematic and disciplined approached to the ways they initiate, build and deepen relationships with clients

Just as you might implement listening posts, market research and client feedback tools for your external clients, are you doing the same for your internal clients?

Do you invest time and energy in getting to understand your employers business model? Do you know how they make money and stay profitable? Do you spend time watching them in action, delivering product or service to their clients? Do you attend sales calls with them, or get to know how the products are developed so you can advise how and where they might improve coordination and efficiency?

What are the ways you stay connected to what your clients really need from you?

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Do you have time to make a new friend today?

Today an inbound unsolicited cold call got me thinking. Do we always welcome new contacts into our lives with an open attitude, or do we inadvertently shoo them away with quiet reserve and resistance?

“Have I caught you at a bad time? the caller asked, No? then please allow me to introduce myself…”

And so began a delightful conversation with a new business contact. Yes, it was a sales call, and there was a certain amount of candour over the reason for the call and the hope of the commercial future it might bring, but there was also a warm and genuine exchange of two people who might benefit from getting to know each other.

It was not so much in the words the caller used. Rather it was the gentle, polite and invitational way in which they were delivered. Translated, they said “do you have time to make a new friend today?”  Listening to the subtext, I paused and opened up for a great conversation with an intelligent, friendly and entertaining business contact. Now perhaps someone else might use exactly the same lexicon and I would have found their delivery presumptuous, manipulative, intrusive. But with a perfect tone and a pitch that can only evolve over time, the caller proceeded to intrigue, amuse and entice me into a conversation that proved fun and purposeful. Light banter, exchange of relevant information, occasional non-intrusive questions, a fair exchange of air time…within moments I am seduced, my mood is lightened and my intellect tweaked by the breath of fresh air that just approached my desk by way of an unsolicited phone call.

Got me thinking…

What if there is no such thing as a cold call. Only a cold manner. Maybe the resulting mood or temperature of the call is altered simply by the manner in which the caller or the recipient approaches the potential opportunity for initiating a new relationship. If you are not open to being approached by a new friend or contact, how do you know what opportunities you may be overlooking? Maybe that stranger calling you is simply a friend you haven’t met yet …