How to profit from client advisory boards


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One of the greatest forms of really understanding what your customers want and don't want is to ASK them! Many successful businesses often hold structured meetings with a selection of clients to hear their view, ideas and challenges.

The results are quite outstanding - See just how you can profit from such events~

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How to profit from client advisory boards

  1. 1. SPECIAL How To Profit From ACTION Client Advisory Boards REPORT Concept Outline Client Advisory Boards (CABs) are semi-formal focus group-type meetings with small numbers of selected clients. The objectives of CABs are:A complimentary report provided by an A. To foster goodwill with representative clients, especially those at the centre independent BBG… of a notable circle of influenceBusiness Development B. To gather valuable information about the market and competition Specialist C. To determine customers perceptions of your business D. To encourage referrals and further business, and… Our purpose: E. To discover new ideas for improving your product or service range.To provide practical Preparation for CABbusiness information that works… There is no strict format for CABs, so the preparation will vary between one Guaranteed! occasion and the next. As a general rule, the following points need to be considered:In particular how to: A. Purpose - What is the purpose of the CAB? This purpose (or set of Increase Sales objectives) should be clearly defined before commencing. Once the desired Reduce Costs outcome is known, the appropriate audience, timing, venue and so forth Improve Productivity becomes clear. Better Business B. Promotion - Generally speaking, people will be pleasantly surprised by an Group Ltd invitation to participate in a CAB and will attend if it is reasonably convenient for them. Nevertheless, a simple "marketing campaign" hasServing Australian andNew Zealand Business. been provided to help maximise the response to the invitation. BBG Australia A flowchart showing the variations of your marketing campaign is attached as Appendix 1 with a sample of a cold marketing campaign letter as Appendix 2. U5, 51 Perry Street Bundaberg, Qld 4670 Phone: 1300 711 743 Conduct of CABPhone: +61 412 667 559 Fax : +617 3036 6174 The following points can be taken as a reasonable guideline: A. Group Size - The maximum manageable number of participants is around BBG New Zealand 10 or 12. An ideal size is around 6 or 8. 1329 Akatarawa Road B. Group Composition - The make up of the group should be dictated by the Upper Hutt 5372. predefined purpose and objectives. As a general rule, ensure there is a mix New Zealand of "old faithful" clients and new clients. The loyal old clients tend to be Phone: +64 4 5266880 unshakably positive and supportive, while the new clients tend to have the Fax: +64 4 5264024 fresher ideas. This mix of old and new helps to ensure that the meeting is Email: both a positive and worthwhile Presented By: C. Venue and Catering - Virtually any board or function room is suitable ... except your own! Participants tend to feel restricted in their comments if they are sitting in your offices, and this may restrict the flow of information you get from them. Page 1 of 5 Copyright © Fred Steensma
  2. 2. How To Profit From Client Advisory BoardsThe ideal venue seems to be one which offers the classic boardroom layout, with a large table and chairsspaced evenly around it. Catering can range from coffee and croissants for morning meetings through topre-dinner cocktails and three-course meals for evening meetings. Obviously, the purpose of the meetingand the identity of the participants will dictate which level of catering is most appropriate,As a general rule, some catering should be provided. Acceptable minimums would be: Coffee, croissants and fruit juice for breakfast meetings Sandwich platters for lunch meetings, and… Sandwich platters for evening meetings, or nothing during the meeting but “money over the bar" afterwardD. Preparation - As soon as your guests arrive, you should be able to pin a nicely-presented name tag on them. This will save you the trouble of remembering everyones name, and will help participants relax with the other guests.Have pencils and paper waiting for each person. These will be necessary later in the meeting.Have coffee or juice waiting so that you can invite guests to partake as soon as they arrive. This sets anice, friendly tone to the meeting and it gives you a chance to relax with participants before the meetingstarts.Most importantly, have a list of questions worked out (at least in your mind) so that you can keep themeeting moving in the right direction once it starts.Have a small tape recorder and a supply of blank tapes so that you can record the evenings discussionsand be sure of capturing all of the good ideas and feedback.E. General Conduct - Open the meeting by thanking the participants for attending, then give them an outline of the format of the meeting. Ask permission, then start the tape recorder. Some appropriate "Opening Comments" are attached at Appendix 3.The key to making the meeting a successful one is to get the guests actively involved. The most effectiveway of doing this is to ask questions and present problems, then act as "facilitator" while the guestsdiscuss (and argue) the ideas.Ensure that no one person "hogs the floor". Encourage quieter people and lively discussion by usinginvolving questions such as, "What do you think, (name)?"A list of suitable types of questions is shown at Appendix 4.At the conclusion of the meeting, sum up the key points that youve taken note of, then ask each person inthe room to:1. Write down, in one or two paragraphs, a summary of their thoughts about your organisation and its products and services. At this stage in the meeting, this exercise usually generates glowing testimonials, and…2. Write down any suggestions (which have not already been raised, or which deserve special mention) on how to you can improve.Page 2 of 5 Better Business Group Ltd Copyright © Fred Steensma Australia- U5, Perry St, Bundaberg, Qld 4670 - +61 412-667 559 or 1300 711 743– Email: New Zealand- 1329 Akatarawa Rd, Upper Hutt 5372, NZ - +64 4 5266 880 - Email:
  3. 3. How To Profit From Client Advisory BoardsPost MeetingAfter the meeting, send each participant a personalised thank you note along the lines of the one shown inAppendix 5.Appendix 1: How to Profit from Client Advisory Boards FLOWCHART FOR PROMOTION OF CLIENT ADVISORY BOARDS Response YES MEET Follow Up Note Invitation Letter No Follow Up NO THANK Response CallAppendix 2: How to Profit from Client Advisory Boards SAMPLE COLD CAMPAIGN INVITATION LETTERGood morning (name),I need your expert advice.You see, one of the things Ive learnt in business is that "the customer is always right". And since youreone of our valued customers, I figure that makes you an expert on how this business could serve youbetter. So, if you could possibly find the time, Id be really grateful if you could spend an hour or so withme and a handful of other clients like you.In the time we spend together Id like you to give me your input and feedback on what we do at (yourcompany name). Ill briefly outline our intended future directions and plans and will look to your for yourcomments and suggestions. But, most importantly of all, Ill be asking you to give me some specific ideason how to improve. How can we serve you better? What do we do well? What do we do poorly? Whatelse would you like us to do? Your input… all of it… will be very much appreciated.If you can make it, please give me a call on XXXX as soon as possible. (If you cant make it, Ill need toinvite someone else in your place, so please call me at your earliest convenience.)Either way, itll be good to speak with you.Sincerely,(Your name)P.S. This "Client Advisory Board" meeting will be held at the XXX at xx oclock on the XXth. I hopeyoull be able to make it.Page 3 of 5 Better Business Group Ltd Copyright © Fred Steensma Australia- U5, Perry St, Bundaberg, Qld 4670 - +61 412-667 559 or 1300 711 743– Email: New Zealand- 1329 Akatarawa Rd, Upper Hutt 5372, NZ - +64 4 5266 880 - Email:
  4. 4. How To Profit From Client Advisory BoardsAppendix 3 to: How to Profit from Client Advisory Boards SAMPLE OPENING COMMENTS Thank you for attending. As indicated, the purpose of this meeting is to look for better ways to serve you. Format of meeting - two ears and one mouth - that’s the proportion I want to use! My job is to ask questions - but I want you to be the ones who discuss and come up with answers to those questions. Please hold nothing back - if we’ve done something to annoy, mention it so we can fix it. If we’ve done something especially well, mention it so we can build on it. Clear? You’re bound to utter pearls of wisdom - okay to use the tape recorder?Appendix 4 to: How to Profit from Client Advisory Boards SAMPLE QUESTIONS Generally speaking, what is your perception of .... (your business)? What is the thing you’d most like us to do - which we don’t currently do? What can we do to make our service extraordinary? What would happen if ... ? How do you feel about the idea of us ... ? What is the most annoying thing about us? How can we fix it? What other products/services would you like us to supply? Are our products/services good value for money? What do you think of the idea of ... ?Page 4 of 5 Better Business Group Ltd Copyright © Fred Steensma Australia- U5, Perry St, Bundaberg, Qld 4670 - +61 412-667 559 or 1300 711 743– Email: New Zealand- 1329 Akatarawa Rd, Upper Hutt 5372, NZ - +64 4 5266 880 - Email:
  5. 5. How To Profit From Client Advisory BoardsAppendix 5 to: How to Profit from Client Advisory Boards SAMPLE FOLLOW UP NOTEDear (Name),I wanted to drop you a quick note to thank you for your participation in the meeting the other day. As Iindicated at the time, “feedback is the breakfast of champions” - and we certainly got some feedback!Thanks, especially for the part you played in making that happen. If you ever have any further thoughtson how we can better serve you, please call me.It’ll be a pleasure to speak with you again.Regards,(Your name)Page 5 of 5 Better Business Group Ltd Copyright © Fred Steensma Australia- U5, Perry St, Bundaberg, Qld 4670 - +61 412-667 559 or 1300 711 743– Email: New Zealand- 1329 Akatarawa Rd, Upper Hutt 5372, NZ - +64 4 5266 880 - Email: