Client Account Management

by Rus Slater

The client’s general objective

Touch your customer, and you’re halfway there.

Estee Lauder

Here you should set out the general objective of the client. If you don’t know what their general objective is, this suggests that you need to get somewhat closer to them in order to find out.

There is often little point in going for their ‘mission statement’, as it will probably have minimal relevance to your specific relationship. Suppose, for example, that your business is the provision of paint and aircraft spray-painting services and your client is BA. Their mission statement along the lines ‘To become the world’s favourite airline’ will not be of much use in this context – you need to find out what their general objective is regarding the painting of aircraft!

While it may be argued that you don’t need to know/care what their objective is, it will certainly help you to empathise with their problems and, more importantly, perhaps to offer a value-added service.

For example, if you are a motor factor and your client is a Renault dealer, but you know that they intend to become a multi-franchise dealership, you can advise them on which manufacturer’s parts are easier to get in the UK... then you are already in place to supply!

On the other hand, suppose that you are a provider of training services to the training department of the client and their 12-month objective is to outsource the entire training function. You are about to find your revenue stream seriously jeopardised by the outsourcer, who will take over not just the management, but also the design, delivery and evaluation functions – lock, stock and barrel!