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Where Is Your Best Business Coming From?

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9 Questions to Ask About Your Clients

This month, we will show you how to assess exactly where your best - most profitable - business has come from over the past three years. The goal behind this exercise - which we're warning can be a little tedious! - is to see where the best opportunity for business lies this year.

Taking the time to gather this data can reap real rewards in your business. And if you have not gathered it to this point, the beginning of the year is a perfect time to start!

Once you've committed to analyze your clients, it's time to dig into the data. Here are the questions to answer about each client.

1. Is it a corporate account, a specific department within a business or an individual person? Which industry is the client in?
Purpose: Shows the types of customers/industries that you may want to focus your marketing efforts on. This also will expose whether your previous efforts may have been too scattered.

2. How much revenue did you receive from the client in 2009? 2008? 2007?
Purpose: Indicates whether the client's engagement with you is growing, stable or shrinking.

3. Which specific projects did you do for this client OR which specific products/services did you deliver?
: Tells you which products and/or services are most popular - if they are not your most profitable as well, you can start heading toward that goal.

4. In what year did the client begin buying from you?
Purpose: Separates long-term clients from newer ones - maybe it's time for a campaign to recognize 5+ year clients?

5. Is this client still actively engaged with your business?
Purpose: Prevents clients from slipping away unnoticed. If they've stopped buying, it may be worth it to find out why.

6. Do you see potential for additional revenue from this client?
Purpose: Helps determine how much efforts should be made in growing the account as opposed to simply serving it with excellence.

7. Do you believe this client would refer you?
: Allows you to categorize clients by their level of enthusiasm about your company. Encourage referrals from your fans and fix what's broken with anyone who is not thrilled with your firm.

8. Do you believe this client would provide a testimonial?
Purpose: If so, have you asked them for one? Gather the names of all clients who you think would offer a testimonial and have someone start collecting/publicizing them for you.

9. How did you acquire this client?
Purpose: This is a big one - and the information should be as specific as possible. If it's a referral, name the person. You may find you have some raving fans bringing you a lot of business - and they should be recognized. Or you may find out that your website could be working harder for you. The answer to this question - when asked of every client - will always yield some specific next steps.

Service Analysis
After your client analysis, create a separate sheet to list all the services you offer/products you sell and how much revenue was generated per product/service for each year analyzed. This exercise will consolidate some very valuable information about your business - and some of it may surprise you!

Share Your Stories!
If you do the above assessment and learn anything that drives your marketing efforts, we'd love to hear about it. Simply contact us to let us know!