How to Approach Clients With New Business Ideas and Strategies
It can get frustrating to work with a client that is stuck in his ways, especially if you have a better idea on how to do the job. You may know what worked for others could apply to your client. The question is, how can you approach your client with your idea, especially if it goes against their thinking?
We asked these work at home experts to share how they handle consult with their clients over new ideas on how to do the job. Let these tips be a helpful guide to approaching your clients with a solid plan to introduce a new strategy or idea.
In order to have the greatest possibilities of persuading a client on a new idea concerning anything related to how marketing, web development or PR works, I do the following:
1. Present the new idea or proposal to the client via email, phone, Skype or face-to-face if we live in the same city.
2. Make sure to point out the where we are now and emphasize on making the improvement potential very evident to the client.
3. Present an example of me using the same strategy on another project (mine or test project) and pinpoint the before and after metrics to make the client experience a sample of the results that the strategy is able to yield and get a feel on if they would want similar results for themselves.
I have found that business people are interested much more in seeing results first rather than being exposed to ideas.
If you want your client to listen and actually embrace your new idea, you’ll need to first make it clear how it will work for them. You need to think about your audience when pitching an idea. Don’t talk about what it will do for you, talk about what it will do for them. That’s the only thing they are interested in at the moment.
Explain What Successful Results Will Look Like-Sometimes you need to paint a very clear picture in order to get anyone’s attention. You need to tell your client what the successful results will look like. Without them knowing or without you guys being on the same page, they may not even notice success if it hits them in the face.
Get prospective. First you should share your prospective idea with a peer or a few on your team before sharing with your client. This helps you grasp a fuller understanding of the idea and how it would apply before you place it in front of your client. Don’t give your client a half baked pie, they’ll usually spit it out. It doesn’t have to be more than a few moments to a couple of minutes with your team talking through the idea but it will help you find holes or unseen benefits of what executing the idea would entail.
Attack the idea. It’s always easy to share the vision of how the idea would ideally work with your client but what about the challenges and fears your client might have with the idea? Be realistic. What’s stupid about your idea? What are the steps to implementing it. How will it effect their customers? Have you done a cost analysis when appropriate? A great partnership adds value and alleviates anxiety whenever possible. Ask questions and listen, listen, listen to what your client is saying. When you’re delivering ideas that address your clients fears and concerns they will feel heard by you and that builds trust.
Think about your client’s clientele. Use questions grounded in reality, their value prepositions, and goals that would have them say, this type of idea is a good idea. You’re in business for your customers. That’s it. If you don’t have customers you don’t have a business. When delivering an idea proposal, whether large or small, you should be asking yourself how will it not only effect your client but how will it effect their clientele. People often remember the 2% that doesn’t work well, not the 98% that does. For example, if you have an amazing product but a poor checkout experience that client will likely share about the frustration vs the product. Very simply, don’t forget to view yourself as a client of your client when introducing an idea.
1. When pitching new ideas I encourage my clients to participate in a video conference. It’s easier to gauge interest, concerns and allows me to change my narrative based on those cues.
2. A second approach I take is to have visuals that can easily be shared on the screen to layout concepts for visual and auditory learners.
3. Finally I consistently pitch using the following formula: The idea, the investment and a projected outcome or result.
Note From Leslie:
It’s not often, but I have had situations in which I thought a project or task could be done easier, better, or more affordably than my client’s current strategy. In this case, I generally ask the client questions about what he wants and why he prefer his way. Then I tell him that I have other options that might be better if he’s interested. Usually, clients are open to hearing new ideas, although they may not always want to go with them. Ultimately, they’re the boss and if they want it done one way, that’s the way you need to do it. But don’t be afraid to let them know your expertise and recommendations. After all, they’re hiring you because you’re an expert.
Do you have more tips? Let us know in the comments below!
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