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Wednesday 19th June 2024

The Ultimate Questions Account Managers Should Be Asking Their Clients

Mon 19th Sep 2022
Brand, Business

You’ll have heard it before – clear communication is central to building and keeping strong relationships with clients (or anyone, to be fair). You need to ask the right questions so you’re confident you’re working towards the same aim, agree a plan, and build trust. 

Often, it’s the small details that are the missing pieces to the puzzle. At least in the very beginning of your working relationship when you’re still learning about your client and their business! As an account manager, you need to dig below the surface to fully figure out what your client wants or needs. 

More questions = greater knowledge. Greater knowledge = more opportunity to help your client. Let’s run through what those questions should cover. 

 

The Ultimate Questions Account Managers Should Be Asking Their Clients

The Ultimate Questions Account Managers Should Be Asking Their Clients 

 

What are you looking to achieve? 

This is about finding where the client would like to be. In some cases, your client may have a very clear end goal but lack the time, experience or resources to get there. Or they may be feeling overwhelmed and need help identifying the end goal before they make a start. 

A realistic and specific goal is vital for building a plan: you don’t start a journey without knowing where you need to end up.  

Goals might include: 

  • Generating online enquiries. 
  • Increased engagement. 
  • Improved email open rates. 
  • Growth in website traffic.  

The goal drives everything you and your team do for your client.  

  

Why is this important to you? 

Unless something is super important to us, we’re unlikely to reach out for advice.  As easy as it is to assume you know why, it’s better to ask so you get a better overall understanding. It might put people on the spot, but it does make them think and that’s important! 

  

What’s not currently working? 

Often, clients will have already tried to fix their problems themselves and/or haven’t seen the results they’ve been hoping for. Be prepared for some frustration if that’s the case: they may feel a little defeated (as you would). It’s also useful to know what they’ve tried in the past. Once you begin talking, you might find out that another provider has failed to deliver, or something has gone wrong previously. Be understanding and take all these points on board. This is where you begin to build the all-important trust. 

  

What keeps you up at night?  

You need to ask their clients to think about their pain points i.e., the specific problems they’re experiencing. These are an awesome way to identify ways you can help. They may be small and easily fixable, or bigger blocks getting the way. It’s likely that answers you get here will be what made them contact you to make a change. 

  

How would you like us to work together? 

The only way to find out what a client likes is to ask them. Big ‘but’ with this one, though. Be clear on how you aren’t prepared to work if there are hard limits e.g., you don’t reply to email out of office hours. Other examples include turnaround times, the way you address one another, your tone, and how you plan to communicate. A full explanation of what they can expect is a must-have. We discuss this during our onboarding process and would strongly suggest you do the same. It saves so much time down the line. Lastly, but still importantly, find out how they prefer to talk e.g. email, phone etc. so you can talk how they like – more likely to get responses that way too.  

  

Don’t forget about how you ask those questions 

Some tips from me to you! 

Listen 

This isn’t just listening about problems: it’s about connecting. Pay close attention to your clients’ needs so you can help them to achieve their goals and solve any issues that crop up. The best account managers are great listeners and don’t be afraid to let people see this. If you’re told a story, check back in with the client the next time you’re chatting.   

If you still don’t believe us about the power of listening, have a play with this video from Samaritans.  

Fascinating, isn’t it?! 

Repeat back your understanding 

This goes hand in hand with listening, but you’d be surprised at how often it’s missed. After you’ve been told something, repeat back your understanding to confirm that you’re got it spot on. Clients feel heard and you’ll find it easier to process what you’ve been told. This is so effective (if done properly) – try it if you don’t believe me!  

Be empathic 

Showing empathy leads to more effective communication and builds trust. Your client will feel heard too, which is important. You should want to understand your clients’ goals and what drives them if you want to be successful. 

Check in regularly 

Speaking regularly is necessary for strengthening relationships and retaining clients. Whether weekly, monthly or quarterly, you need to ensure that you’re putting time aside to talk to your clients.  

 

If in doubt about how to behave, always remember to be less Basil and more Polly: 

https://youtu.be/5UNJuhrtyns

 

If you’d like to find out more about building relationships or need to discuss your pain points, then get in touch. We’d be happy to help.  


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