My tough love approach (heavy on the love) focuses on bringing order to chaos, and creating solid (and straightforward) strategic plans. I take surveys for fun, never met a process I didn’t like, and am a big believer in personal growth as a keystone to business growth.
How well do you really know your clients?
If you want to know the secret to my success as a high-level Online Business Manager and small business owner, it’s this: I really and truly get to know my clients.
This might seem like a simple, no explanation needed technique, but stop and think about it: What do you really know about your clients?
Trust me, the better you can get to know and understand your clients, the greater benefit it will be to both them and you. Let me explain…
Getting to know your clients is crucial in serving their needs to the best of your ability. Dig deep to understand what makes them tick: Why are they in business? What motivates them? What are their pain points? By which benchmarks do they measure their own success? Understanding these things will help you anticipate their needs, deliver the results they’re looking for, and ensure that they’re happy with your services.
Truly knowing your clients means more than just getting their names, collecting their addresses, and shooting off a few emails. You need to learn how they work, how they communicate, the methods by which they prefer to communicate with you, what they believe is most important in their business, and their overall goals for the next month, quarter, year, and five years.
No matter what service you are offering—administration, coaching, copywriting, marketing, accounting, etc.—you’ll produce better results for your clients when you’re able to cater to their wants and needs. Your clients will be impressed when you take the time to really understand them, as it shows that you’re committed to providing the best possible service that’s been personally tailored to their goals. And don’t forget about customer service, which is an integral part of every kind of business! The better you know your customers, the better service you’ll be able to provide.
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If you’re convinced of the value of going deeper with your clients but you’re not sure how to get to know them better, start with this: Incorporate a discovery process for new clients.
There are a lot of different names you can use for this stage in your onboarding. Essentially, I’m talking about a dedicated part of your process for taking in new clients that’s all about getting to know them. For instance, you might have an initial survey along with a discovery call, with a prepared list of questions that will help you to dig deeply into the heart of what makes your potential clients tick.
Pro Tip: Create a comprehensive survey and include it in your client onboarding process to jump start the “getting to know you” process from the very start of your working relationship.
Who are they? Go beyond the surface and learn not just their names, but also their backgrounds. Without prying too much, it can also be nice to know a little bit about their personal lives too, so that you can occasionally enquire politely about their family or interests (which will help you create a more personal bond).
Also, who are their customers and clients? And who are their primary competitors?
What is their product or service? What’s it all about? What need does it fill? What kind of an impact does their product or service make on their customers’ lives? You want to understand the ins and outs of their business to the best of your ability.
Where is a little more straightforward when you just think about location, but also think about where they are now with their business and where would like to be in the future. What are their goals for this year? Next year? Further into the future?
Where do they currently market themselves and operate? Is there unexplored territory somewhere that they could expand into? This “where” can be virtual and figurative, as well as concrete.
When may also seem like an obvious question, e.g. when did they get started? But along with “when” in the past, “when” in the future is an equally important concept to explore with your clients too, e.g. when they would like to hit certain benchmarks?
Why is a biggie! For instance, why are they in business? The answer rarely involves only making money. There’s usually a lot more to it, and this can tie back into what motivates them. Why did they get started in their business or industry? You want to understand why do they do what they do. Why do they believe in their product or service? Why is their offering better than their competitors’? Why are they a business owner and entrepreneur rather than just working for someone else? Getting to the heart of the “why” is key to understanding your client on a much deeper level.
How does their business operate? How are they currently working, and how can their processes be improved? The answer to these questions will help you to determine how you can help them to run their business more effectively and how you can help them to stand out from the competition.
So, what about getting to know your current clients better? Ask yourself these questions about your current clients and see if you already know the answers. If you’re stumped, this could be a great time to schedule a review appointment with your clients to check-in on the work you’ve been doing with them and their satisfaction. At this appointment, you can also explore as many of these questions as possible to take your working relationship and business practices to the next level.
Clients are the bread and butter of your business, and it’s important to do what you can to create the best working relationships possible. If you need help developing an outstanding onboarding and review process with your clients, don’t hesitate to get in touch! As an experienced, high-level virtual assistant, I’ve developed onboarding processes for my clients that have improved their client relationships by leaps and bounds. Contact me today and let’s talk.
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