Wednesday, March 13, 2013

13 lessons I've learned on how to have a productive discovery meeting

Here are 13 lessons I've learned over the years about how to have a productive discovery meeting with a client. It's during these meetings that we develop our understanding of our client and build strategy.

1) Pay close attention to body language throughout the meeting. It lets you know how much you may need to elaborate on a question or move on to other topics.

2) Establish trust by showing you are making an effort to really understand their needs early on.

3) Try not to ask generic questions. Build your questions based on previous answers. Progressive questions will lead you to a better understanding of needs.

4) Try to find easier ways to illustrate ideas presented by the client through metaphor or personal anecdotes. It will show a true want for a deeper understanding and also allow you to know if you are on point.

5) Really show them who you are during the meeting. Be yourself.

6) Don't be afraid to ask "dumb" questions. We tend to ask questions based on an initial intellectual need. It may help to elaborate after the answer is given on why the question was relevant to you and what you learned from the answer.

7) Remember you are the "expert," so be confident and share some industry wisdom.

8) Remember that you are discussing a topic that is deeply personal to the client, so act accordingly.

9) There is always a hidden truth that will teach you something really valuable. If you don't know that truth, you must dig deeper.

10) Remember that it is a process. If you don't feel you've found what you are looking for in the allotted time, schedule a new meeting.

11) At some point, explain to the client an idea or thought given to you by the client. The hope is that the client will begin to think in terms of marketing. This will make the relationship more valuable and effective.

12) The best way to impress a client during a discovery meeting is to show you were paying attention. Make sure they see that you have been.

13) And most importantly, after the meeting, do what you said you were going to do. It's much easier to lose integrity than build it.