Listening To The Market

To better serve your clients, you need to understand their world better then themselves.

Do you know what's going on in your clients' world?

  • What are the trends and big shifts happening?
  • What are the major risks and opportunities that these changes created? Which ones are obvious, and which ones very few people are aware of?
  • How are your clients and prospects feeling about them? Are they fearful and worried about uncertainty, or are they preparing to take advantage of new opportunities?

A big part of earning trust and creating demand lies in educating your target market. But to do that you will need new insights. And since the market (and the world as a whole) is continuously changing, you will need to continuously gather those insights - this is one of the few activities you will never stop doing.

With that said, there are several ways you can gather new insights.

You can use third-party research (surveys, publications, books), gathering data from different sources to understand and communicate the changes that are happening. It's relatively fast to perform and allows you to explore a topic from different sides. But the information is not exactly new, and depending on your market you might struggle to find relevant or reliable research.

An alternative is to survey your contacts yourself. It's more costly and time-consuming since you need to plan, gather, and analyze the results. The advantage is having exclusive research, which you can brand and distribute as part of your visibility-building initiatives.

But there's also a third option, which is often overlooked: being in the same room.

You probably have met with a consultant that knows "everything new going on" in his space: the market confidence, changes to the leadership team inside large players, new tools, legislation, and best practices. These consultants don't need a survey to spot a new trend - they've been hearing about it for months, or even years before the general public.

Here's what I say to every consulting firm with more than 3 partners: One of you should attend every client industry meeting that exists in your space, and write up what you heard and saw - both in formal sessions and at breaks, as well as in one-on-one conversations.

The simple act of being there, listening and engaging with other players in the market, will give you more actionable insight about what's going on in their world than anything else. Being in the right room is underrated. It's one of the best ways to "feel the temperature" of the market and understand how they're thinking.

Ask yourself: Where do my dream clients gather, and how can I get in there?

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