How to Create an Information Plan
What is in an information plan?
Before you even meet with a potential customer, you should have an action plan in place. The action plan should consist of 5 areas. Each area will deal with certain aspects of any potential deal and information that will need to be gathered. Let's look at each of the areas and see what you need to learn about the client. First, the contact information for the decision maker and the personality type (we will deal with personality types later in the book). You will also need information on two other levels within the company. Who is the influencer in the situation, their name, title, and to whom they report to, plus their personality type? You will also want to know about anyone else that will be able to sway the decision for hiring your company or purchasing your products. You now have the first step in the process.
Second, information about sales volume should be gathered. This information is readily available if they are a publicly traded organization. If they are a privately held company, you may need to find other sources for getting the information. The information is not hard to get as most companies like to boast about their sales record.
Third, you will want to know what type of problems they are encountering. In other words, what is their business pain? You will need to make note of some solutions that you can provide that may help, but make sure that this is not cast in stone until after the meeting with the client.
Fourth, you will need to know something about their customers: are they happy, what do they see as the strengths and weaknesses? Once again you may have to ask for some leads or wait until you do an analysis of their perceived value.
The fifth and last thing to record is birthdates, anniversaries, special interests, and hobbies for each of the contacts. This last piece will help cement the bond. You will have created a place for a touch point with the client that is outside the scope of the contract. It will put you in a place where they will think of you when a similar project comes along.
You have now filled in your information plan. You should have enough background data to be able to make comments when in a meeting with the client. You will want the client to do most of the talking and you most of the listening. It is extremely important that you are taking mental notes while listening. Record your notes on your power page after you leave the meeting but do reiterate the major points that you heard before moving on.
Bette Daoust, Ph.D. has been networking with others since leaving high school years ago. Realizing that no one really cared about what she did in life unless she had someone to tell and excite. She decided to find the best ways to get people's attention, be creative in how she presented herself and products, getting people to know who she was, and being visible all the time. Her friends and colleagues have often dubbed her the "Networking Queen". Blueprint for Networking Success: 150 ways to promote yourself is the first in this series. Blueprint for Branding Yourself: Another 150 ways to promote yourself is planned for release in 2005. For more information visit http://www.BlueprintBooks.com
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