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Leveraging Existing Client Relationships

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Executive Summary.
1. Thinking like a client advisor
2. Understanding what clients really want
3. Creating new buyers


Are You Leveraging Your Existing Client Relationships Effectively to Grow Clients' Share of Wallet?

Focusing on and growing profitable revenues from selected clients is gaining understanding and momentum. Hence, I am frequently asked what is important in doing this successfully. So here, in my considered opinion, are three key aspects.

Think like a client advisor, not an expert for hire. The difference is profound, and if you can capture the "advisor mindset," you will dramatically alter the way you approach building your client relationships-right from the first meeting. Experts tell; advisors ask great questions and listen. Experts are specialists; advisors are deep generalists who have a deep specialty but also a breadth of knowledge about their clients' business, industry, and competitive environment. Experts have relatively few client meetings because they have to prepare so much; advisors know that a cup of coffee and a vibrant conversation is welcomed by clients and adds value. Experts focus on methodologies; advisors focus on client needs.

Understand what clients really want. There are four things that all clients always want-and some others that are based on the client's particular needs and buying habits. These four are:

  1. Delivery-you have to come through for clients on your core products and services, with a high level of client service and quality;
  2. A relationship of Trust-clients must believe you will put their interests first and come through for them;
  3. Value-there must be an acceptable ratio of benefits to cost; and
  4. Likeability-clients do business with people they like.

In addition to these there will also be value items or benefits that are specific to each individual client.

Create new buyers by leveraging existing relationships. Many organisations, especially large ones, have several divisions, business units or even subsidiaries. Leverage your relationship in one division into others. This 'referral' process is priceless and will more often than not open many doors. This will allow you to identify and explore a need, develop an agreed approach, and get the go-ahead to proceed from people that have a propensity to want to do business with you as a result of the referral. Building trust, as always is key.

Andrew Clare is Managing Partner of reLiance a business to business relationship marketing practice. I focus on improving client profitability through developing, implementing and measuring sustainable, collaborative business to business relationships.

Cell: +27 83 326 2451, E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Web: www.rassa.co.za, LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/andrewclare


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