Through the Looking Glass: Immerse yourself in another world

I think Alice had the right idea by wondering about what lay behind the looking glass in the drawing room.  Was it all the same, only backwards?

When it comes to our clients’ worlds, it’s worth wondering, and it’scertainly worth finding out. It’s all too easy to slide into the trap of assuming that we’re all looking at the world through the same eyes and mindset.  Logically, we all know that’s not the case.  So why the lack of curiosity?

Well, we get stuck at our desks, plugged in to the cyberworld, with deadlines to meet.  But immersing yourself in your client’s world (or that of your target audience) – just for an hour, even – can pay huge dividends, and never fails to turn at least a few preconceptions on their heads.

And if that brings you just a step closer to connecting with your client, that has to be a good thing, right?

So here are Wisdom London’s Top 5 tips for connecting in a B2B environment:

1. Person to person

Make time for face-time. Ask questions – but different questions. Find out how they feel. What’s on their mind today? How do they feel about the week ahead?  What’s going to be their biggest challenge? Ask: “What can I do to make your life easier?”. It might be providing some information, accelerating an aspect of a project plan, or something as simple as buying them a coffee, or it might just have been the fact that you asked.

2. Shake up your reading list

What does your client or target client read? (if you don’t know, just ask…) – and what do their clients read? Get out to the newsstand, buy and read a few publications that inform their world, and that of their target market.  It could take you right the way from the consulting sphere to The Grocer, via Marketing Week. Monocle via I.D.  And so on.

3. Align online

Who does your client follow on Twitter?  Get plugged into some of the same people.  Ask them to suggest their own ‘Twitter Top 5’ and follow them. Same with blogs.  Interact online with other interesting people in your client’s sphere.

4. Make yourself at home

Work at your client’s offices when you can.  Sit by someone you don’t know and get to know them. Request access to your client’s intranet and use that information to understand what’s making the organisation tick.  Close the loop: Ask if you can contribute a news article to their intranet / internal newsletter.

5. Don’t take your eye of their prize

Who are your client’s clients?  Most of the time, we’re helping our clients sell to their clients better, through whatever the value is that we bring. From hedge funds to haircare, from to health to legal services, you need to understand that world as best you can. Which is, perhaps, another looking glass to step through…

Kate Spiers is founder and director of Wisdom London

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