Pre-empting client questions
One important skill that every account manager should hone is their ability to "sell". When you pitch to a prospective client, you are selling a business partnership. When you present a design concept for a campaign, you are selling an idea. When you submit a quote for a website build, you are selling a solution. When you sit with your client to strategise a campaign, you are selling your expertise.
An essential facet of sales is being able to pre-empt and address questions, issues, and concerns in order to put a client's mind at ease and close the sale.
The person you are selling to (your client) will likely have many questions that they will want satisfied before they agree to proceed with your idea, pricing or advice. Your job is to put yourself in your client's shoes and think of as many of those questions as possible BEFORE you talk with them. You will then be able to include the answers to your client's not-yet-asked questions in your presentation or proposal.
You should also be able to read your client (during a presentation) in order to cover off questions before they are asked. The less questions (or concerns) that your client has, the easier it will be to get your proposal across the line.
Pre-empting of questions and concerns will enable you to:
- Refine your proposal or presentation.
- Identify holes or issues.
- Alleviate potential client stress.
- Think on behalf of your client.
- Demonstrate how much you understand your client's business and requirements.
- Gain client approval more quickly and easily.
As your industry experience and client knowledge grows, you will be able to do a lot of pre-emptive thinking by yourself. For occasions such as concept presentations and pitches, the most effective way to pre-empt client questions and issues is to do a group brainstorm where people can play the "Devil's advocate" and try to "break the pitch". Better to do this before the event than during!
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