This is a critical exercise that I want you to embrace – you have a wealth of information at your fingertips. Know how to tap in to key resources to prep like a pro. Do your homework – learn how to research clients online!
Do Your Homework! | How to Research Clients Online
Don't let me lose you… but l almost named this article
“How to be an awesome Internet stalker”
But I decided against that title.
Sometimes I wonder what people did before the internet. I’m a child of the 80s, but while the internet was popularized during the course of my life, I have a hard time remembering the days before the AOL dial tone (bonus points if you can remember your AIM screen name).
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And while we have fully embraced the wonderful joys of online shopping and changing the thermostat without getting up from the couch, some of us are still living in the pre-internet age.
Are you fully tapping in to the internet to learn more about your clients or potential clients?
If you know how to identify your potential audience and learn more about them through the internet, you will have a strategic advantage from your competition.
Let's talk about how to appropriately stalk… ahem… I mean gather information.
Don’t be shy, doing research serves a purpose
Namely, doing research helps you understand the person better so your meeting or conversation is a better use of their time. I'm speaking to everyone who is hesitant to do research on someone ahead of time. I used to be in that camp myself. I was afraid to do research because I didn't want to be a stalker. But I'm here to tell you that doing research ahead of time serves the (potential) client better.
Know who you need to do your homework on.
Your time is precious – don’t go into a black hole of internet research without some structure. Have clear and manageable guidelines about who would be best to learn about In advance. In my role as a corporate trainer and consultant, I find myself looking up people before I have a discovery call or as a classroom trainer. You need to know how to identify with the people you’re meeting with. Are they potential as customers, upcoming clients or potential collaborators? Where are they spending their time? If you're a direct-to-consumer business, you may need to start on Facebook or Instagram. If you are in a B2B business, you are going to surf google and go to LinkedIn.
Be mindful of the information you learn and how you use it.
There is some unwritten etiquette about researching on the internet that is more art than science. If you find something that you want to directly reference in conversation, you should say: “I saw on your LinkedIn profile ________.”
This gives some context to your reference, and it can actually help you gain some of their trust because they know that you’ve done your homework. Do not be disingenuous using the information you find – authenticity is critical above all.
Use tools appropriately.
Doing research online helps you get your foot in the door, but it’s only the first step. You still have to build trust in your client relationships. This cannot effectively be done looking at profiles, sending DMs, or commenting on posts. Doing research on clients should be the start of the relationship. Schedule a call, ask them about themselves, take the time to learn and care. In this strange COVID world, we are starving for connection. Use online research to get your foot in the door, but follow up with a genuine relationship.
Learning how to research clients online and doing your homework will help grow your relationship with clients. Using tools like LinkedIn and other social networks can be a competitive advantage to learning more about your clients. It’s not stalking- it’s simply being more mindful of utilizing their time most effectively. They’ll be grateful that you didn’t spend the whole meeting talking about the basics!