The Classic Client-Focus Meeting – Tool for Success
Focus on Your Customers for the Truth
In today’s business market, I see many organizations working hard to grow their market share, sales and team. I am sure you will agree that the very strategies that got us to this point may not take us to where we want to go.
For all of us, the way we see ourselves and our business is limiting at best. Most of us do not really know how we are perceived in the market because we have just worked with ourselves too long. Those companies that continue to re-work old strategies and not seek innovative ways to build their image, offering and service are in serious trouble.
My commitment is to provide you with ideas that will keep you one step ahead of your competitors and allow you to see your business differently than you see it now.
For years in my coaching work, I have seen good organizations deciding to re-connect with their customers for a serious look at the reality of their image and how they can improve. We have been running Client Focus Meetings together.
Here is how a ‘Client Focus Meeting’ works.
Invite 4-8 of your key customers to join you and your leadership team for an afternoon session off site and away from your office. Provide them with food and refreshments. Invite customers with varied backgrounds and relationships to you. (big vs. small, new vs. older)
Preface the invitation by asking for their help and honest feedback.
Set up a table in the front of the room for your guests and have your team sit across from them in a horseshoe fashion.
ALL your key stakeholders are in the room and Blackberries are off.
Your assignment is to do one thing…..LISTEN. When I say listen, I mean listen for what is possible, not probable based on history. Listening from your ‘past’ in this exercise is useless.
Involve an outside facilitator to engage your customers and direct the meeting.
Ask your key relationships to answer each of the following questions:
- Why did you originally decide to do business with us? What brought you to our organization?
- Why do you decide to stay with us and keep doing business?
- What are 3 things we can do to improve our service and relationship with you?
Please ‘truly listen’ to what is being said to you. Take notes and ensure each team member is engaged in this process.
Immediately after the meeting, you must commit to making changes based on your customer’s feedback. Thank your customers for their honest dialogue and communicate to them what changes you are going to make.
You will have in your possession a clear message about how you are viewed and what is next in your strategic development. This is just one step in gaining your competitive edge.
Last year, our team took the opportunity to run a focus meeting with our key client relationships. The feedback we received was pure gold to our organization and what was possible for us. We had to leave our egos and pride at the door, and by doing so, we were open for receiving the truth and reality about how we are really seen in the market. As an organization, we will never look back.
By involving your customers in your strategic planning and business development process, you are gaining and edge and strengthening relationships all for the cost of a lunch. I would say that is a good investment.
Depending on the size of your company and its players, you may want to adjust the Client Focus Meeting as needed. Please contact me to discuss the format that will work the best for you.