Ever found yourself in a situation where you find out something new about a long-term friend, even after all the time you’ve spent together? Realising that you didn’t know as much as you thought about that person can result in mixed reactions but it’s a positive sign that there are hidden depths for you to explore further.
Your relationships with your business clients are very much the same and depending on the size of your business, how you find out all that you can about them can be the difference between a real relationship and one that just exists on the thinnest of threads.
When reviewing your client base, not only should you be identifying what they are spending with you but also what they aren’t. It’s what’s known as your Share of Wallet (SoW), the larger it is, the higher your confidence is in your ability to fully support them. Interestingly, many businesses fail to ask one very simple question:
“How big is your budget?”
And it’s in not knowing the answer to this where many stifle their potential.
By identifying what their total spend is on IT, Communication, and AV, you’ll be able to do some quick calculations to identify whether you’re missing out on the larger share of the pie. Basically, you’ll be able to see what you’re leaving on the table when you wrap up your meetings with your clients.
Highlighting the gaps in this way can typically have you slapping your forehead as you realise that the areas in which they are allocating funds to your competitors are just the types of products and services you already provide… and, for whatever the reason, you’re not getting it!
So give that forehead a rub and engage better with your clients. Create a specific time to have these conversations with your clients and don’t necessarily assume that the IT Manager is going to have all the answers you need. By talking to C-level finance managers you’ll realise that you can overcome technical obstacles easily and really get to the heart of their business goals in hand.
Technology is changing and in a more service-driven environment, you’ll have to get to know your clients a whole lot better than you do now.
Plug the gaps and you’ll be surprised at how much more efficient you’ll be at growing your business relationships.
Susanne Dansey is the Managing Director of Purple Cow Ideas Management – an organisation that facilitates a paradigm shift in the collaborative nature of the ICT Industry. You can follow her on Twitter and join the conversation on Facebook.