Your mindset should be one of an apprentice
Your client knows that though you are not yet an expert in the product/service they sell, you have the unique capability to learn fast and communicate the essence of that product/service in a language that is accessible and attractive.
Therefore, when you are talking with the client, put yourself in the role of his student, ask questions, don’t try to have immediate solutions. Collect information, analyze, understand the product/service and let your ideas become the product of your research.
Make sure you talk to the right people
When I’m trying to learn about a new product/service, I don’t just talk with the marketing strategist, but also with people in the development team, the sales team, area manager, among others.
You can get the best insights about a product/service by talking with the person that you least expected. The first step is doing research and learning as much as you can about your client. Remember, you are not the expert at this point.
Now we are ready to move on. The following is a list of the questions I use when I talk with clients and I try to learn about their products. Some are applied to certain industries and not others, but for sure this blog will help you find a clear guide to organize your interview.
1. What is the story of their product/service?
Every brand is driven by narrative. This is why as an agency you need to make the effort to learn the brand’s story from the beginning. You must be familiar with the original brand before being able to rebrand.
2. What do they like most about the identity of their current brand?
It’s important to know for sure which elements of the current branding the client wants to keep or improve before eliminating or changing elements.
3. What do they not like about the identity of their current brand and how would they like people to perceive their brand?
This is a very important question because we need to know the reasons why the client wants to make a change in his brand. This way we will be able to know in which areas to focus on and also gives us an idea of what the client likes.
4. What is the problem that the product/service solves?
The best thing you can do to start your inquiry is to create a narrative framework in which your client’s history is presented as a problem-solution situation. It’s surprising to see how hard this step is for some clients; many of them don’t really understand the problem(s) that their product solves.
The important thing in this step is to guide your client towards the answers that he might not have yet, or that he hasn’t verbalized in the past.
5. Who are the people that make the decision to buy the product? Who would be their ideal client?
This is a very important question because it gives us an idea about who’s the person involved in the purchase decision process. With this information, we can identify our Buyer persona. The buyer persona is an ideal client’s archetype of a service or a product. In order to identify the buyer, you should consider the following: sociodemographic and demographic data, online behavior, interest, etc.
Once our buyer persona has been defined we can proceed to analyze our ideal client’s behavior according to his concerns, and how these can be solved with our product/service.
6. How is his product/service different from the competition? What adjectives do people use to describe his brand?
Is it the fastest product? Is it cheaper or more expensive? Understanding the differences between the customer’s product/service and the competition’s will help you define the key messages in your advertising spots. In this section, it is important to identify the “wow” factor that, unlike the competition, our client has.
7. What are the terms or keywords that lead the buyer to our client’s website?
Similar to the previous question, an exercise where the client has to write the keywords that lead the buyer to their website can be very beneficial. These keywords will be very useful in the future to develop a content strategy focused on answering the frequently asked questions and/or establishing the customer’s concerns before he realizes the solution he needs.
8. What objections or obstacles does the buyer have before deciding to buy the product?
If one person is talking about it, probably others are thinking about it as well.
By performing this exercise, salespeople become your best allies. It’s about knowing what the main prospect’s objections are.
Talking with happy clients is a great method to generate success stories and, at the same time, to get an answer from the people that already know the solution, what their motivations were for purchasing our product, and overcome those obstacles.
9. Is there any problem or limitation about the product that we should know about?
In the same way, you tell your lawyer or your doctor the truth, you have to tell your marketer. Knowing if there is any problem with the product is imperative to develop crisis’ strategies on social networks.
Of course, the best suggestion is to pick clients that have good products, but it’s not useful to think that our clients will have products with 0 defects. Nevertheless, if we know what the defects are in advance, we can plan what to do and what kind of messages to communicate when these concerns are presented. Let’s remember that in a digital world, nothing is hidden. Do you agree Snowden?
10. Can the current (or ideal) customer use something different instead of his product/ service to solve their problem? What are his alternatives?
It’s nice to think that the product that we have is the only solution that the world has found for solving their problem, but the truth is that the customer it’s not waiting for the next Steve Jobs, and generally tends to look for alternate solutions to the problems that your product solves.
Even though it’s true that there are products that, because of their innovation level, don’t have others in the market that can be compared to them, it’s important to know the product/service’s equivalent to yours that your customer is using nowadays. For example, when we were investigating the possibility to sell our CRM, we realized that most of our prospects were using excel to document their sales process and we created messages to promote the change to our CRM.
In the same way, when we tried to convince our clients to use HubSpot to automate their marketing processes, we realized that some used up to 7 different tools for their activities, so we shared the idea to have only one system integrating all the of their tools.
In other words, knowing what your prospects are using instead of your products will give you valuable insights when structuring your campaigns.
11. What is your product/service’s price?
Yes, price is still an important factor for many buyers. Besides, knowing the ticket’s average value facilitates the ROI calculations of your advertising strategies.
This is the time to inquire about your client’s business model. We at Centrico Digital believe that as a client’s agency, we need to know his business model even better than himself; we need to understand how they earn money.
If there are different pricing models or plans, this is the time to extract this information.
Interviewing and getting to know my clients it’s the part that I enjoy the most in my job. I see it as a session in which I really try to understand their concerns and align my mindset to theirs.
Personally, my campaigns’ best results come from in-depth conversations with clients and I can notice the effectiveness when many of my copies reflect their own words.
I hope that this information comes in handy to get to know better your clients, the clients of your clients, and their product/service.
Now, tell me, is there any other question you ask your clients to get to know better their product better?
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