How do we develop a strategic customer relationship? What are some of the things that we need to do? Experience has taught me that to be successful it starts with understanding what your customer wants.
So many times I’ve observed people that go to see customers and all they’re interested in is getting the customer to agree to their buy their product, service or idea. They are simply not interested in the customer or clients needs or wants.
Until we get inside the head of the person that we’re dealing with, we really don’t understand how to match our product, service, or idea with what will help them satisfy some immediate need, or help them advance in their current job or career. And if we can’t do that then we are not perceived as being of value to them.
When we’ve understood that, then we have the secret formula to success, or the win-win. That’s how we develop a relationship. We understand what is in their heads and what they want to do. By the way, it’s not always just about business. It can often be personal.
“Before you satisfy ‘the client’ understand and satisfy the person.” – Harry Beckwith
What are their personal ambitions? Where do they want their career to go? Where do they go on vacation? How many kids have they? What do they do at the weekends? I call all this understanding of the Customer or Clients need and wants, the Clients Notion.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of Notion is “an individual’s conception or impression of something known, experienced, or imagined (2): an inclusive general concept (3): a theory or belief held by a person or group.
So, what’s the Client’s Notion and why should I care? Understanding the Clients Notion helps us understand the individuals we are dealing with as people and what makes them tick. Here’s a typical example what could be a Client’s Notion.
Mike Burke is settling in as the new CMO. He is from outside the company and as an outsider he needs to gain trust of employees. He is cautious not to rock the boat too much, is ambitious, and wants to get some quick wins to impress management, is new to the country, and has few friends.
Such insights would provide us with the opportunity to make introductions for him into our network, invite him to a master class meetings or other appropriate business or social gatherings.
If we really want to understand the Customer, their Notion and what they are trying to achieve, we need to know their business; not just by looking at their website, but by understanding how their business works from soup to nuts. We need to know what’s involved from supply chain to delivery, their objectives, and how they measure success. It’s not always just about revenue and profit!
To move a customer relationship from being a vendor or preferred supplier up to a valued partner status takes time and understanding the customers needs. It means knowing the Clients Notion and being able to find ways to help them achieve their what they want.
If you like this article, then you may also like these as well:
Peter M. Beaumont is a Management Consultant and Owner of ConnXN and works for Pivotal Advisors. He is the author of The Relationship Roadmap and is a customer relationship mentor who helps those responsible for their stellar clients protect and grow their business. See more at www.ConnXN.net