If yours is a B2B business, it means that you're relying heavily on your valuable business partners. Much like any relationship, you're only going to feel as comfortable as the level of trust you have with these business partners. Getting to know them better also means that you understand their goals, their pain points and what keeps them up at night. Knowing your clients will also give you a heads up if they're facing difficulties that may affect your relationship.
How well do you know your clients?
What You Don't Know About Your Clients
There may be a good amount of information that you know about your clients but you also may not know what you don't know, you know?
As an example, you may have a signed contract with your client but you may not know their entire legal entity name. This information is invaluable during a breach of contract because it may limit your legal recourse.
Other important data on your client may offer insight on their ability to pay your invoices on time. For instance, is your client's business in good credit standing? Do you know their historical payment data to other vendors or partners or if they're at risk of filing for bankruptcy? How much do you know about their industry and their brand reputation?
How to Get to Know Your Clients Better
During the sales process, you or your sales team will likely attend meetings and share meals with your clients in order to get to know them. You'll likely do research or run business credit checks to determine if they're a good fit for your company. This is a great start to building a solid B2B business partnership foundation. Don't stop when the deal is signed! Continue communications with your client contacts. Ask questions. Keep doing research. Get feedback on how you're doing. Stay in touch to build a real relationship not just a "persona" to market to.
Get to know your client's industry. Set up Google Alerts with their name, their parent company or subsidiaries. Read trade publications so you'll be notified if there are big changes that may affect your client's business. Stay informed so you'll know when there may be problems ahead.
Talk to them, again and again, to check in. They may be facing personal problems or the company could be downsizing. You'll want to know this information to better prepare for how it may affect your business.
Know Your Client, Keep Your Client
If you know your client, you'll likely keep your client. Regular communications means that you're doing the work it takes to sustain a proper business relationship. You'll know what they're thinking about and how you can continue to meet their needs. You'll offer helpful advice instead of spamming them with useless emails. You'll continue to build trust and, with any luck, a solid network for referrals.
If you know your client, you're also protecting your own business. You'll be able to spot the warning signs or red flags that could lead to future problems. You'll be armed with the information you need to prepare for the worst. Just how well do you know your clients?