Would you ask someone to marry you the first time you met?
No, I hope not. Relationships build over time by creating personal bonds and cultivating trust. So why do so many businesses lead with a service list the first time they meet? Are they even sure that their contact is the decision maker?
Building trust, maintaining effective communications, and creating personal bonds are some keys to a lasting, profitable relationship. Regular maintenance - sitting down to have forward-looking conversations - should be an integral part of routine check-ins, but listening is crucial and has to come first.
Here are a few conversation starters to consider asking your current clients that can help inform what you choose to offer them:
- Ask about their thoughts on a hot topic or trend
- Where do they see <topic/trend> going? Which company comes to mind when considering outside assistance in this area?
- Where do they see their growth originating from over the next ten years?
- Are they moving away from <service/topic> or towards it? Are they considering investing in <service/topic>?
- What perceived threats do they see to their business?
- Where could they use help? What’s their biggest area of risk?
- Discuss mutual benefits. What are some other services they could provide given their experience and connections?
- You have unique connections and experience you bring and so do they. Could you team up to do research or explore a service/product benefiting both of you?
- How is <your business> viewed in the industry as a company - in terms of who we are, what we do, what we are known for?
- How do they keep their ear to the ground for the latest information?
- How do they see their industry growing? Do they expect more in the next year? What are their major areas of fear? Excitement?
- Explore additional potential opportunities using best practices, bench marking, or comparison.
- "The biggest challenges we help our clients overcome after we have assisted with (the challenge you are currently providing solutions for), include (provide a list of two to three additional services). We’re seeing (xyz stats). What challenges are you facing in those areas?"