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“Excuse me, Mr.Client, but I have a better offer”

Written by Thinh Dat Duong – s3411886. Group 1 – SGS campus

 

Mr. Leon Shears is currently in charge of the marketing department of Grant Thornton, the world’s 6th biggest professional service firm, they provideassurance, tax and advisory services to privately held businesses, public interest entities, and public sector entities. With experience in the industry, he has shared his insight about client acquisition as well as client retention.

On client acquisition and retention

Client acquisition is the most important because without client, you have no business. But retention is obviously important. The cost of acquisition is very high. Achieving a new client takes a lot of time, a lot of preparation, a lot of men management and discussion, communication until you get that new client. Once you have that new client, you have to make sure your service is good, you provide exactly what he wants the way he wants it, to make sure when you ask him to come to sign the contract next year and he would say “Of course”. It should be a seamless transition from one year to the next.

You have to find out what the client wants. Quite often, the client will not know exactly what he wants, he thinks there is a problem, he thinks there is something going on that he wants to solve. It’s the supplier’s responsibility to extract and ask the questions, keep asking questions: “Do you think this is where the problem lies?” so the client, not only tell the supplier what is the problem, but the client feels comfortable, satisfied that he has explained the problem properly.

“The extra you do will show the interest you have with the client’s business”, he said.

He mentioned an example of the extra. You’ve got 2 warehouses. Both of them have 5 members of staff, and both are about 40% full. In a regular audit, you would say you’ve got 2 warehouses, exact number, exact staff. Tick. Correct. That’s what you’ve told me, that’s what I can see. Perfect. But wouldn’t it be sensible for the audit to say, “Excuse me Mr.Client, there are 2 warehouses, with each only 5 employees and only 40% full, you could perhaps take the goods out of this warehouse, out them into that warehouse, and that one will be 80% full. You still got the flexibility. And you can have the entire building, which you can either sell, leased for money, or you can knock down, build something else”.

It’s about getting involved in the business. You’re no longer a client supplier, you get to build a team. ‘If you don’t pay attention to building a strong relationship with your client, you run the risk of being shown the door, no matter how terrific the work’ (Solomon 2008, p.97).

Communication with client

One of the most important aspects of a client-supplier relationship is communication, by getting to know each other. (Reproduced from adrianejolly.com)

One of the most important aspects of a client-supplier relationship is communication, by getting to know each other. (Reproduced from adrianejolly.com)

The secret of any relationship is communication. The only reason you argue with your mother is because she does not understand you, ad you don’t understand her. The reason you argue with your girlfriend, is because you’ve said something, and she has taken it a different way what you meant.

Know what you want to say, so you really know yourself. You want to know who you’re saying it to, and get to know them as the best you can. You want to know the language they understand (the sort of words you can use). And of course, the channel that you use to communicate, is it verbal, written, pictures, tvc, a movie, a book?

Put yourself in the other person’s shoe. What do you want to hear from the supplier when you buy a motorbike? Are you interested in it has 125cc engine? Not really. Are you interested that it has double coil suspension? Maybe, maybe not. Are you interested that it can run 100 miles on a gallon? Yes. That’s important, that affects my pocket. Is it important that the brakes are double-disks? Yes. That’s my safety.

“The manufacturer/supplier must always know what the client wants to hear”, he concluded.

Word Count: 658

The author and Mr. Leon Shears from Grant Thornton. (Photo taken by the hotel’s receptionist)

The author and Mr. Leon Shears from Grant Thornton. (Photo taken by the hotel’s receptionist)

 

References:

Solomon, R 2008, The art of client service: 58 things every advertising and marketing professional should know, Kaplan publishing, viewed 28th April 2014

Image references:

Adriane Jolly 2013, ‘Improving communication with prospects and customers’, viewed April 30th 2014, < http://adrianejolly.com/improving-communication-with-prospects-and-customers/&gt;

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One thought on ““Excuse me, Mr.Client, but I have a better offer”

  1. This has much potential so I’m ‘liking it’. It has the beginning, the middle but not quite the solid end. The title sets-up the warehouse example from Mr. Shears brilliantly. However, I felt a little unsure on how it plays out at the end. What exactly is the ‘better offer’ we should present to clients? Conclude it specifically- good communication, planning and strategy, alternative solutions to problems.

    Other sections to be improved are the first 2 paragraphs of client acquisition and retention section- it is unclear if these are your editorialized opinions or Mr. Shears own words. If its the latter then “quote” them. Also the mother and motorbike metaphors are not needed. I think more word count should have been given to expressing the interviewees’ expertise, length of service in the company or list of clients. ~Mel C

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