“What can we do to make you life easier?”
When I coach clients to work towards expanding your current client relationships, I always want you to ask some variation of this question. The goal of the question is to continuously work towards improving the relationship and making sure you’re on the same page with your clients.
Part of the challenge when you ask this question is that you can sometimes get an answer back along the lines of “Everything is fine.” This is a vague and wishy-washy answer from your client. This answer does not tell you if you’re doing a good job.
Part of the challenge for you in asking this question is that your client has probably never been asked this question. Your client is not prepared to answer it. They really need some time to just process this question in their mind.
The danger comes in the fact that you’re just doing “fine”. I’m going to talk about your CRM and how you use it to create a more systematic approach to working with and managing your relationships with your clients.
What is CRM?
CRM is the acronym for Customer Relationship Management. CRM has been made popular by various software systems that help in Customer Relationship Management such as SalesForce.com, ACT, Goldmine, etc.
I use the term expanding relationships, but CRM is the more popular term. Contrary to what most sales people think, CRM software was not designed to create call reporting, or more hoops for you to jump through. CRM was designed to help you effectively manage your client relationships.
Why Use CRM?
- How good have you been at expanding your current client relationships?
- Do you have a plan in place to systematically contact your clients?
- How often do they want to hear form you?
- Do you know all the key players within their company?
- Do you have your clients ranked as A, B, and C clients so you know how much time to spend with them?
The problem your CRM system solves is how to manage these problems effectively. I’m not recommending one CRM system over another one.
If you can manage your clients with a paper notebook, go for it. Just have some kind of CRM system.
Your CRM System
This is going to cover the real magic you being effective with your CRM system. For you to really manage the relationships with your clients you just need two things.
- Where is your client today?
- Where does your client want to be at specific point in the future?
That’s it. Your CRM system should be that simple in managing and tracking your effectiveness in the relationship.
Think about it, your client started doing business with you for a specific reason. Your client was at specific point in their business or life, and they want to be somewhere else.
The way to use your CRM system to manage the relationship is to know exactly where you and your client are starting, and where you are working to get to. This needs to be quantifiable, or else how will you know if you’re effective in helping your client achieve their goals?
So make sure your CRM system is designed to help you track and measure your effectiveness with all of your clients.
CRM is not a dirty word.