Monica Wells

Monica Wells is a tech blogger and a successful startuper working for With a strong background in Internet Science and New Technologies she lectures on leveraging the potential of the World Wide Web for business development.

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20 Things You Should Know About Your Client

Monica Wells

October 24, 2014

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If you think you already found out all you need to know about your clients, you had better read these questions carefully. Reconsider devoting some time to researching your clients more and ask them about some of the issues below straightforwardly once you have the opportunity to do so.

Who are they?

The first thing you must learn about your new client is who they are and what they deal in. The more you know about their strategies and objectives, the better for you and the project you are doing for them. Although you should know a lot about your client already before you meet him or her, you can aslo ask them about the company's overall goals and mission.

What is their budget?

Your client's pocket delimits your options. Therefore you should know beforehand not only how much they offer for your service, but also how much more they can spend on the project in case a new opportunity or idea arises. Although this is not a must, it is worth knowing it as it lets you negotiate your pay for the extra part of the project.

What about their personal life?

In order not to commit a faux pas talking about something that might concern your client, get to know, discretely, something about their personal life. Keep it to yourself, though. In fact, it is not so much about what you should know about them but whether you should disclose to them that you know it or not. You may know that your client has just divorced but you want to leave your congratulations for a more formal or positive occasion, like company anniversary, success or the long-known client's birthday.

What are the contact options?

Even if your client's company website includes all the possible contact data imaginable, ask him or her which contact channels you will use. The plural is crucial here, since you do not want to end up having only your client's email which he or she checks only once per day. Set specific hours when you can and when you cannot contact each other and agree on at least two alternative contact ways.

What limits does your client impose?

Apart from the company budget, there exist other limitations for your project which you should explore as soon as possible. Get to know what you cannot do, say or disclose according to the company-specific rules, their major PR strategies, etc.

What is your client's attitude to risk?

Some marketing strategies involve a higher risk of failure than others. To determine whether you can spread your wings or rather tread lightly you need to know if your client is a risk-taker or a very careful entrepreneur.

Check your client's knowledge of your industry!

If your client knows little about your professional area, you may expect more anxiety and communication problems between you two. Therefore, you should be prepared for explaining him or her what you do in particular stages of the project and why you do these things, so that you avoid frustration at constant objections and reservations to your work.

How do they imagine working together?

Obvious as it may seem, this issue must be discussed thoroughly at your first meeting. It may turn out that you and your client have totally different visions of how often and what you will report to him or her and how much time you are expected to work at different stages.

Why you?

If your client contacted you because he or she had enough of late project submissions by others, you really want to know this to make sure you satisfy him or her in this repect. For the same reason you want to know specifically what they heard about you and why they contacted you. Also, getting to know how your clients found out about you may be your way of conducting a marketing research of your own company. 

Who are your client's clients?

Since your client's clients are your own, you should get to know the target market of your client's company thoroughly. If you advertize their product, get to know, for example, the Internet habits of their e-commerce website's users and their overall preferences, age and nationality.

How do they reach their Internet community?

Assuming you provide your client with any kind of marketing, SEO or PR related services, what you need to assess as early as possible is your client's visibility online. Get to know which channels of online communication with the target market are used and how successfully they are implemented in the company's marketing strategy.

What was their past with your competitors like?

The knowledge of your client's past experiences with others from your industry allows you to eliminate those techniques which they have already tried out but which did not bring results. It is good to know why the cooperation with your predecessors ended and how those companies failed the expectations of your client so that you do not make the same mistakes.

What are your client's expectations?

This is one of the first things you need to establish at the beginning of your relationship with your client. Make sure that the contract between you two states them clearly and that you can conform to them. Let your client know immediately if his or her expectations are too high or beyond your area of expertise. 

Client or a know-it-all intruder?

These are by far not the only categories under which your client may fall but knowing which one of these he or she is will let you prepare psychologically and emotionally for the task. Will your client give you a free hand for the project or will he or she poke their nose into your every move making it impossible to work?

How do they take criticism?

Even if your client trusts in your professionalism, disagreements and divergent visions of the project might be inevitable. Get to know how good they are at receiving criticism of their own ideas as you may have to negotiate a safe space between their and your experience.

Get to know their competition

What can your client say about his or her most dangerous rivals on the market? How do they advertize themselves, which techniques and resources do they use and what determines their success? Analyze that with your client and improve on the competition's ways or find a niche they have not filled so far and make the best of it.

Ask for their feedback

On completing your deal, you should always ask about your client's opinion and level of satisfaction with your services. You want to be able to compare them with their expectations and with what they said about your predecessors' work. Needless to say, that will help you improve on your work according to these people's criteria when the next opportunity to cooperate with them arises.

What else do they need?

At the end of the job, you should try and determine what else your client might need from you in the future. If you have not managed to guess that on the basis of your pre-research of the company's area of work, ask your client straightforwardly if he or she sees any other opportunities for your cooperation. If you approach all your clients in this way, you may finally establish a niche of services within your expertise that will allow you to cater for the needs of all of them at once.

What are their resources?

For some projects you may need external assistance from different specialists. Get to know if your client employs any programmists or web developers if you think you might need their help and ask beforehand if you can "borrow" them for your project. Ask which of the company software and hardware you may use to complete your work. 

How will your work fit in with the rest?

Your client may be performing more similar or related tasks at the moment. Before you start your work, you should learn what these other campaigns are so that you can fit in smoothly within the others' current or already existing work rather than collide with them.

Getting to know your client inside out in professional matters is crucial for your smooth cooperation, therefore, refer to the above list whenever you start a new business relationship. This will help you avoid many mistakes and ensure that you understand each other in terms of what you do together.




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