In our company, we take this exercise very seriously. In fact, we schedule such an event, every year, and pay to fly our clients in to our home base from all over the country! In marketing terms, it’s our Client Focus Group. We love it, and we will have our 10th annual this year!

Here are reasons you should host a focus group, too:

  • If you wish to be perceived as an innovative company;
  • If there is value, in your competitive space, to being a thought-leader;
  • If you are committed to being the #1 go-to problem-solver for your clients;
  • If you are willing to commit to solving those problems, because when you bring them back next year, you’re going to need to tell them what you’ve accomplished!

Here is why it works as well as some critical “ingredients in the sauce”:

  • Your clients think they are alone in their difficulties. When they hear others express the same issues, and you are there to provide options and solutions, they are oh-so-ready to brainstorm for those solutions.
  • Your company becomes a part of those solutions.
  • You provide the solution sets, possibly to many clients, at a lower cost because they are all buying in. You’ve just created a competitive advantage for you and your clients where the overall cost of development and execution can be shared.
  • Secret sauce: Hire a professional facilitator. It is a distinct talent to let a question hang in silence, to extract feedback from a wallflower, and to control the dominating voices in the room.
  • Assign a scribe. The facilitator is focused on where to take the conversation next, not writing down what was just stated.
  • Hire a photographer so you can remind the group of the event.
  • Execute, execute, execute! We publish and commit to an Annual Innovation Plan as a result of this meeting, and our clients love the interaction and the results!

Other opportunities:

  • Buyer’s remorse is eliminated when clients meet one another and interact with all of the other smart people who have selected your company;
  • Client interaction with your team creates personal friendships. In addition to team meetings, we do scenic hikes, winery tours, sailing excursions on Lake Michigan, and other fun group activities. Get your clients out of the office and experience fun times together, which further solidify relationships.

Our Client Focus Group has changed our world, elevated our dialogue and client solution sets, and dramatically expanded the services we provide our clients. Your “clients” are your members. And, it is never too late to get started.

Article written by:

Dave Moore