ESTABLISHING A CLIENT ADVISORY BOARD
In the past I have emphasized the importance of having an Advisory Board for your business. This Advisory Board should be made up of influential and knowledgeable business and community leaders. A Client Advisory Board is another good board to have.
The Client Advisory Board should be made up of 8 to 10 of your current clients. Their purpose is to provide input on what they like about your current “offerings” and to give pointers on how and where you could make improvements. The desired end result is to create a stellar client experience that will make you a leader in your market niche.
Like any other undertaking, this will require a commitment on your part. The following is a suggested method for forming and running such a group:
- First make a list of what type of information you wish to obtain from your board. It could include everything from your communications to your marketing to your fee structures, etc.
- The Board should be diversified. I believe that they should be what you consider an “ideal client” and who are influential in their own business or community. A board meeting is not a referral meeting. By participating in your growth and understanding your market focus, referrals will come.
- Potential members should receive a personal invitation either in person or by phone. Let them know that you consider them a valued client and that you respect their opinion.
- Frequency should be twice a year and either a breakfast, lunch or dinner.
- An agenda is important and should be sent out to the members several weeks before the meeting. Items to be discussed can include new marketing ideas, a change in your web site, a new offering, etc. While you are not asking for referrals you should allow enough time at the end or beginning of the meeting for the participants to do some networking.
- Like all other contacts, follow up with a thank you note. (Make sure that all these members are also on your monthly newsletter.)
The best way to grow your business is to know as much as possible about your clients’ likes and dislikes. Another very important item is that the suggestions you receive from your board should be implemented whenever possible.
This is an inexpensive marketing tool but one that can yield tremendous results.
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