Finding “Smart Clients”May 21, 2012 | By Kevin Cray
In my everyday life, I sit in on some very high level meetings. One observation I have made is a lot of firms, no matter which market segments you play in, don’t know how to strategically pick the clients that will best be served by their services.
What is a “smart client”?
The term “smart client” should not be taken literally, but along the same lines. Where are places where executive leadership is smart enough to understand the impact your company will have on them and not just view you as a commodity. Take a construction company for example, will they view you as someone who builds buildings, or will they view you as a firm that will help take them to where they want to go (not necessarily in the cheapest way), but as a firm providing the best value to solving their issues and implementing their strategic plan.
What should you look for in “smart clients”?
- Will leadership understand how to leverage your solutions, not just hire you or buy your product? How would they view you as a solution to a problem, or do they think they need you?
- Are they leveraging strategic firms for IT to decrease their CapEx/OpEx costs? There are plenty of firms such as Strategic Hospital Resources, Blue Cottage Consulting and Pariveda Solutions, which help the “owner” strategically plan how they can get to where they want to.
- Are they currently using alternative financial methods to achieve their institutional goals? Institutions everywhere in every market are being faced with budget cuts, but the “smart clients” are using other ways to offset those budget reductions. There are plenty of different solutions, such as private financing groups, public-private partnerships and monetizing energy savings (via ESCOs), which are some of the solutions in the market that can provide alternative finances. A secondary question would be if they view saving money as just that, or do they view it as a way to reallocate the savings to move capital projects or initiatives ahead.
The points above are just the tip of the iceberg, but looking at clients in a different way can make you and your firm more successful and potentially more efficient by not wasting time on potential institutions that won’t understand your complex value proposition.