Get a “client quote” and win more interim assignments. Referrals and Recommendations are a key weapon in an Interim Managers Marketing tool kit.
If you are a professional Interim Manager you are most likely also a LinkedIn user. If so, a quick and effective way to improve your personal brand and marketability is to ask your clients for a recommendation on LinkedIn.
Of course, not all clients are registered on LinkedIn, or there may be reasons why they can’t give you a LinkedIn recommendation. And even if they do give you a Recommendation, there is no guarantee that prospective clients will find you to read it, amongst 600 million + LinkedIn users.
That's where “client quotes” can help…….
There's no better recommendation than someone saying how great you are. It's pretty straight forward to ask a client to provide a “quote”. They're invaluable and with permission you can include them on your CV, presentation documents, cover letters, blog, website and marketing material.
“Client quotes” will give you credibility as a Professional Interim Manager, they will provide important information on who uses you and why, they will explain how and what you delivered for a client and give you priceless User Generated Content (UGC) for potential clients to read.
User Generated Content (UGC) is becoming extremely important. Consider when you want to spend £600 on a new TV, or Laptop. You will invariably go online beforehand to read product reviews from other consumers. This type of behaviour is something that HR Departments and Recruiting Managers are also doing, i.e. looking for recommendations and referrals, looking at LinkedIn profiles, websites, facebook, blogs, forums and other online communities, to see what lies beneath the CV.
Accessing online User Generated Content in the form of “client quotes” gives HR/Recruiting Managers the confidence to interview you and possibly recruit you; Just like a plethora of fantastic online reviews will give you the confidence to buy that new TV.
“Client quotes” can be used in a variety of ways, if you have a blog, slip in some quotes at an opportune point in the discussion, if you have a website, add a dedicated page for “client quotes”, place “client quotes” on your LinkedIn page, and engage in online debates/forums relevant to your particular area of expertise.
Google loves User Generated Content and your “client quotes” will find their way to the top of Google searches, so be active and your quotes will be quickly found by prospective clients/recruiting managers researching you, or people with your skills, for an assignment.
When collecting “client quotes” don’t wait until after you have finished the assignment before asking for a “quote”. Ask for a quote when the assignment is 95% complete, i.e. whilst you are still ‘on site’. If you leave it until you have finished the assignment and are ‘out of the picture’ and the client is more likely to ignore your request (out of sight out of mind).
If you ask them when you are still ‘on site’ it is harder for them to say no and the quality and detail of the quote will be better, as the task you have completed is still fresh in their mind. Wait too long and the client’s memory will fade. Of course, there may be assignments where the impact of your work cannot be commented on immediately, and you will have to wait until after assignment completion before you can get a quote”. However, even mid-assignment, if the client says something or emails something that would make a great quote, ask them if you can use it there and then.
Make asking for a “client quote” part of your assignment ‘wrap up’ process. Tell the client that you need to know what they thought of your performance, how you delivered, what you achieved, what the positive outcomes were for the business, how you overcame challenges. Tell the client these are standard questions that you ask all clients as the feedback enables you to deliver a better service.
When devising questions, think about the people you want to read your “client quotes” (prospective clients) and tailor questions accordingly. I.E. you could ask “what made me different to other interim managers you have used before?” or “why was my service delivered more effectively than previous interim managers you have used.”
Your clients are likely to say similar things, so to avoid your “client quotes” sounding androgynous, ‘lead’ them into quoting a wide variety of relevant information. You don’t just want them to say that they recommend you, you want them to say WHY they recommend you, why you made a difference and what made you stand out from the crowd etc.
Also, don’t just ask the person you reported to for a quote, ask the people you worked alongside, ask customers, ask suppliers etc.
If the client is reluctant to provide a quote, ask them why, it may unearth a problem that hasn’t been discussed previously and needs to be resolved. This will give you the opportunity to fix the problem which will maximise your opportunity of gaining more work from them in the future.
Avoid offering incentives in exchange for generous quotes. If you have done a good job this it won’t be necessary. However, it is perfectly fine to reciprocate, and inform the client that you would be pleased to offer them a recommendation or you would be happy to provide quotes for a case study or white paper.
Ensure client approval is always given before you use their quotes. Send an email asking them to respond if they have an issue with you using a quote or would like the quote amended. If you want to use a “client quote” in your marketing material, explain how the positive quote may also provide their business with exposure and reassure the client that you will only show them in a positive light.
Friday Dec 7, 2018