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Hidden Agendas: Uncovering What Clients Keep From Their Suppliers

Discover 13 important things your client isn't telling you and why.

Hidden Agendas: Uncovering What Clients Keep From Their Suppliers

Is your client telling you everything you need to know? What are they not telling you? Here are 13 things clients won't reveal and why.

13 things your client won't tell you

Season 2 of The KAM Club podcast is out now! I'm excited to be back after a long (productive) break.

I focus a lot of my content on developing relationships with clients that are based on trust and credibility—I think it's the foundation on which account growth and retention are built.

But lately I've been thinking that no matter how honest, transparent or friendly our relationships with clients are... there's a lot they don't say.

After all, it's business, not personal.

So here's a list of 13 things I came up with that clients are unlikely to divulge (especially if you don't ask). And it's the subject of this week's episode of the podcast.

  1. Their budget and cost expectations.

  2. The identities of their other suppliers and their pricing.

  3. Their true level of satisfaction with the supplier’s performance.

  4. Any internal conflicts or issues that may impact the supplier relationship.

  5. The potential for future business opportunities.

  6. Their company’s financial situation and stability.

  7. Any upcoming changes to their business strategy or direction.

  8. Their internal decision-making process and key decision-makers.

  9. Their true priorities and preferences for product or service features.

  10. The reasons why they did not select the supplier for a particular project.

  11. Their internal policies and procedures that may impact the supplier relationship.

  12. The potential impact of the supplier’s product or service on their business operations.

  13. Their true timeline or urgency for the project or procurement process, which may impact the supplier’s pricing or delivery schedule.

Why don't they want you to know?

Clients don't want to share anything with their suppliers that that may give them a competitive advantage, demonstrate weakness or dependency.

I go into more detail in the podcast, so take a listen if you're interested. It's only about 20 minutes long.

How to actively listen to others

The ability to listen—to really understand what someone else is trying to communicate—is an essential skill that fundamentally impacts your ability to get results.

It's through listening that you'll get your clients to open up. You want them to do all the talking, so you can do all the discovery.

  • Pay attention. Look for cues that convey underlying perspectives and emotions. And use nonverbal affirmations to show your listening.

  • Suspend judgement. Keep an open mind and be willing to hear ideas and entertain new possibilities.

  • Reflect. Paraphrase information and identify the feelings that accompany messages.

  • Clarify. Double check anything that's unclear to you.

  • Summarize. Briefly restate the core themes raised by the other person.

  • Share. Once you've gained a clear understanding of the other person's perspective, it's time to introduce your ideas, feelings, and suggestions.

Worth a read

+ Why Aren't Successful People Happier? A revealing interview with Dr Laurie Santos, host of The Happiness Lab podcast. She argues that free time, being with people we care about and mindfulness bring more joy than material things.

+ How to Write a Meaningful Thank You Note. Sometimes I forget to say thank you. Or I struggle to find the right words. This article explains how to keep it genuine by focusing on what you appreciate and why. Examples included.

+ The Most In-Demand Skills and Jobs in Sales Right Now — And How to Get Them. LinkedIn recently ran polls on the most in-demand skills in the world, and the fastest-growing jobs in the U.S. The results show that sellers need to cater to buyer needs more specifically than ever, and that sales professionals want to develop their management, communication and marketing skills.

Worth a click

+ Future Tools. There's thousands of AI tools out there and new ones being released all the time. It's impossible to keep up. I stumbled on future tools which collects and organizes the best of them into categories like chat, finance, marketing, productivity and just for fun.

+ Data Visualization Color Picker. If you do a lot of analysis that also involves creating charts, then you know that choosing the right colors can be a real challenge (at least if you want them to look good). This color picker helps you choose a range of complementary hues that help our brains distinguish the colors better. Choose up to 8 colours. All you do is pick the start and/or end points and the picker will create a palette for you.

+ Listen Up or Lose Out: How to Avoid Miscommunication, Improve Relationships, and Get More Done Faster. A really enjoyable book that teaches you how to actively listen and absorb what a person is saying, thinking and feeling. I especially liked Chapter 11, Be a Great Asker and Chapter 12, Creating and Sequencing Productive Questions.

Quote of the week

Better to trust the man who is frequently in error than the one who is never in doubt

Eric Sevareid


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