End of Year Nonsense: Drop the “Checking In” Garbage


It’s the end of the year and I am moving forward with 2015 projects and goals.  Which typically means I start to schedule 2015 Strategic Planning sessions with my clients.  I schedule these with most of my clients so we can anticipate and plan the upcoming  year together, as well as look at how I can best support their needs and efforts.  If I understand their key initiatives I am better prepared to position myself as their go-to business partner. The time is also used to introduce my clients to my center of influence team.  I can’t do it all but I am happy to refer experts  that can help them accomplish their goals.

To keep sales momentum alive, you should be calling or visiting your clients a few times a year (I will let you determine the frequency).  Most salespeople know this.  What you shouldn’t be doing is “just checking in.” You need to provide value on every interaction — even a quick follow-up call from a project, training, etc. That means you need to rethink your entire callback strategy.

I view my quarterly calls as a strategic event, not a tactical one.  It’s never about admin stuff or chit-chat time; I try to provide something  valuable to that client at every interaction.  Whether it’s sharing a case study that relates to a common business issue or challenge, an opportunity to participate in a webinar that isn’t fluff but works to continue to grow my clients skill set, or running lunch and learns that the HR dept doesn’t have to run.

What I don’t do is call for the sake of calling. While I do enjoy some personal connecting on the calls I am respectful of my clients time and try hard to make every interaction meaningful instead of a to-do list task.

Working with my clients from their perspective means that I plan these calls or face to face meetings with the following in mind:

  • Client Agenda: What are the 3-5 most important priorities for my key contact and then the same for the organization? Where’s my value prop sit here (if at all)?
  • What are the most promising opportunities to deepen and grow this client, given their goals and priorities?

Finally, when I get an org. chart from a client I then look to see where I have relationship gaps.

  • What senior executive relationships must be developed or deepened to capture the opportunities discussed in the second point.

2015 goal for you should be committing to these meetings, building a team of experts that can help you and your clients grow their business, and prepare to make each client interaction better.

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