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9 Tips For Gathering Intelligence On Your Clients To Help Your Business

Republished with Permission from RDT Content Marketing, LLC

We all think we know what clients and prospects care about and want from us. The reality is that we often miss important details because we aren’t doing enough homework on them. Learning how to get more information from and about your clients and prospects can help you improve the effectiveness of your marketing, the quality of your services and the strength of your relationships. Before assuming you have all the answers, try these tactics to gather intelligence that will help your business:

1. Analyze your own data. Don’t just rely on your memory of your client demographics, how and why they came to you, what concerns they had and other details. Gather information during prospect calls and intake; review marketing results, email metrics and website analytics; run detailed billing reports; and document client interactions. There are software tools that can help with this, including using a Client Relationship Management (CRM) System to capture and organize client information effectively. However, you can also use your billing or contact database.

2. Improve your communication skills. Good communicators are attentive, patient and empathetic. Do you ask open-ended questions and encourage others to share their thoughts? Do you maintain eye contact and avoid distractions? Are you interrupting speakers or making assumptions about what they mean? If your skills aren’t where they should be, get training to teach you how to interact, elicit and respond to information and build stronger connections.

3. Use social media. A wealth of information is available on social media about clients and prospects. You can review their social media pages, posts and connections as well as research their competitors and industry. Through a practice known as ‘social listening,’ you can continually monitor relevant social media conversations and trends to learn more about clients’ needs, preferences and pain points. There are social listening tools that can help with this. You can also use social media to directly engage with clients and prospects by reacting to or commenting on their posts and sending messages.

4. Search Google and online databases. As with social media, a simple Google search can reveal relevant personal and business information about clients and prospects. In some cases, you may also want to search online databases, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) website, Westlaw/Lexis, Bloomberg, Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) and others. You can also set up Google alerts and targeted searches in other databases to notify you of new search results.

5. Conduct client surveys or interviews. Many professionals will ask clients whether they are satisfied with their services. However, it’s important to get more in-depth information about clients’ experiences, opinions and preferences. Asking for specific feedback enables you to identify areas for improvement, gauge the degree of client satisfaction and loyalty (i.e., how likely they are to recommend you) and ask about the need for other services. It also demonstrates that you care about your clients and the quality of your services and can help diffuse a potential complaint before it becomes public.

6. Review or conduct industry/consumer research. Relevant research can help you understand your clients’ concerns and anticipate their needs. It also helps position you as an expert who can provide timely advice. There are organizations that may already have done relevant studies and surveys or depending on the nature of your work and target audience, you may want to invest in creating custom research.

7. Attend relevant conferences and events. Going to the places where you would most likely find your clients and prospects enables you to gather information firsthand, interact in person and share and gain insights.

8. Read publications that your audience reads. It is important to know the information sources that your clients and prospects use to help you understand their level of knowledge and the type of content they view as helpful.

9. Continue the conversation. The purpose of gathering information from various sources is to help you engage with clients and have well-informed conversations. However, this isn’t a one-time event. It’s critical to stay up to date on your clients’ interests and concerns with regular discussions.

The ultimate goal of taking these steps is to leverage your newfound knowledge to enhance your services, nurture relationships and develop more effective marketing and sales campaigns.

If you need assistance with gathering intelligence on your target audience or creating a plan to reach them, contact us for a consultation.

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