Anticipating Client Needs

…takes insight.

Every question the client asks is a potential gateway to additional services.  Every problem you solve and solution you deliver leads to new opportunities.  Did you hear the problem in the question? Did you see the opportunity to bring real value?  And, if so, did you seize the moment?

This skill comes natural for many.  They are those partners and managers who have a natural need to probe and uncover the issues under the surface. When they listen to clients, they are less focused on actual the words spoken and more intent on the subtle message  or agenda being conveyed.  What is the is client trying to tell me?  Reflective people never accept things at face value.

Whether you are naturally reflective and probing or not, success depends on being capable of anticipating client needs. Here are a few tips to practice for those who are insight challenged…

1.  Step back from the task at hand and reflect on what issues the client might encounter once this project is complete.  What is the next logical step or phase?

2.  Listen to the chatter and concerns the clients employees are talking about.  How can you help?

3.  When the client makes a statement or shares a situation with you, ask, “what are they really asking of me?”

4.  Schedule time regularly to think about the client needs and how you can position your firm’s expertise.

5.  Do not assume the client will connect their issues to your firms capabilities. That connection is yours to make.

6.  People do not like to admit a problem until they know you have a solution.  Be solution-oriented.

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