One crucial element of an effective marketing strategy is client interviews. Whether you own a law firm or a construction company, you need to interview clients to understand their problems fully so you can provide the right solutions.
You will be amazed at the information you can gather by conducting client interviews. I promise it will be incredibly insightful and help your business in the long run.
In today's article, I will define what a client interview is, why it's essential to your marketing strategy, and what questions you can ask a client during an interview session.
Let's get started...
What is a Client Interview?
A client interview is a type of interview where you ask questions of current clients to gain valuable insights into your business and your customers.
It's typically a 15-30 minute meeting that has no right or wrong answers, and you're looking for complete honesty from your client.
Ideally, you should shoot for five to fifteen interviews and focus on ideal clients - the most profitable ones, who refer your business, and you love working with.
Find a third party to conduct your interviews!
Clients tend to give much more honest feedback when talking to a third party not affiliated with your company.
Next, I want to tell you about the different benefits of conducting client interviews.
The Benefits of Client Interviews to Your Marketing Strategy
"Why do I need to interview clients?" or "Can't my team and I just brainstorm to come up with answers?" you might ask. Well, my answer is simple - even though you may think you know your clients inside and out, it's not uncommon for your impressions and assumptions to be incorrect.
While it is helpful to have a team or group discussion, nothing can beat the insights that you can get from your clients directly.
Let me give you a few critical reasons why client interviews must be a part of your marketing strategy checklist:
1. Help identify and create ideal client profiles or buyer personas
Identifying your ideal clients aka buyer personas is vital in doing business. Missing this crucial step can lead your company in the wrong direction.
A buyer persona, aka an ideal client profile or avatar, is a 360-degree description of the type of client your company is looking to serve.
A client interview can help you identify and create a buyer persona by answering the following questions:
- Who do you want to serve?
- Who can you add value to the most?
- Who can afford to pay you?
Remember, identifying your ideal client or creating a buyer persona allows you to provide the perfect solution for your clients' problems.
Once you identify your ideal client, it will be easier to craft a story that will resonate with your audience.
2. Identify patterns and key characteristics of ideal clients
Interviewing clients will not only help you identify and create a buyer persona, but it will also help you unlock the patterns and characteristics of your ideal clients.
It lets you understand the following characteristics:
- Interests and hobbies
- Likes and dislikes
- Personal and career passions
- Activities outside of work
- Preferred social media platforms
- Purchasing habits
If you know and understand these characteristics, it can help your marketing in many ways.
3. Identify common problems ideal clients have as it relates to your products or services
When you understand the common issues clients have with products/services like yours, you can create offerings that address these issues and help differentiate you from the competition.
Sitting down and asking clients what their problems are will let you identify common pain points concerning your product or service which leads to benefit #4...
4. Identify areas where you can improve
What I love about client interviews is being able to identify areas for improvement.
Nobody's perfect, so go into this with an open mind and really listen to how you can improve.
If you do, you'll come away with some great takeaways about how you can be even better than you already are.
5. Identify what customers love about you & what makes you unique
When you conduct a client interview, you'll understand why customers prefer your company over the competition.
Why did they buy from you? What do they love about doing business with you? How are you different?
These are all great questions that will give you awesome information you can use in your messaging and branding moving forward.
How to Conduct Client Interviews
How you conduct client interviews will dictate how valuable your data is. Going to an interview session unprepared is unprofessional, ineffective, and a complete waste of everyone's precious time, especially your client's.
Here are simple tips on how to conduct an excellent client interview:
Before the Interview
Plan your client interview. Have questions prepared ahead of time, so you know what you want to accomplish. Provide your client with a summary of what to expect before the discussion to make them feel at ease.
Tip #2: You should always appear professional to your client. Coming into a client interview unprepared will make you look unprofessional and communicate you don't value their time. Do not skip tip #1!
Tip #3: Always be punctual if the meeting is not at your office. You know, respect your client's time.
During the Interview
Start by telling them the purpose of the interview and why you are doing it.
Tip #2: Let your client know the structure of the interview and that you’ll be making notes, so they know what to expect during the session.
Tip #3: Encourage your clients to be brutally honest with their answers. Listen actively and don't take anything personally.
Tip #4: Be respectful by maintaining eye contact to appear calm and collected.
Tip #5: Take notes.
Tip #6: Sum up the interview.
Tip #7: THANK THEM.
If the interview went well...
this is a great time to ask for a customer testimonial!
After the Interview
Organize your notes while it is fresh in your mind.
Tip #2: Discuss any concerns with your team, supervisor, or manager.
Tip #3: Follow up via phone, email, or in person when needed.
Sample Questions to Ask During Client Interviews
It's critical to ask the right questions during client interviews to get valuable insights that you can use in your marketing strategy.
It's precisely like hiring people, asking the right questions will lead you to the right candidate whatever position it may be.
To help you with this task, here are sample questions that you can ask during a client interview session.
To get a summary of your client's company, ask:
- Can you give me a brief overview of your business?
- How long have you been in business?
- How large is your company in terms of employees, stockholders, branches, etc.?
- Are there any industry associations or groups you belong to?
To gain insight into the decision makers you need to reach, ask:
- What is your position in the company?
- How and why did you get into this business?
To understand why your client chose to work with you over the competition, ask:
- How did you find us? Were you considering any of our competitors? How many?
- Why did you choose to work with us in the first place?
To tailor-fit solutions with your clients' problems, ask:
- When you started researching the products or services we provide, why were you doing it? In other words, what did you want or hope to gain from it?
- What problems were you hoping to solve by using our products or services?
- How were those problems making you feel at the time?
To gain more insight into your company, ask:
- What do we do that other's don't?
- What do you like most about working with us?
- How can we improve?
- What phrases or words would you use to describe us?
To gain valuable buyer persona information, ask:
- What does a successful relationship with us look like to you?
- What might hold you back from buying from us?
- How did you gather information and make a purchase?
- What causes delays in your purchasing decisions?
- How do you reach a buying decision?
- How do you gather and consume information? Podcasts, blogs, etc.
- What social networks are you active on?
There you go! Do you see why your marketing strategy needs client interviews to be successful?
If you have the right data to analyze your clients, then it's much easier to create a marketing strategy that revolves around their needs, wants, and desires.
If you'd like help with this process, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We've helped many clients with client interviews and marketing strategy!
So what do you think? Are you ready to get started conducting client interviews for your company?
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Creating a solid marketing strategy is a must for effective marketing? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Marketing Strategy to learn more.
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