Conceived in the back of a taxi on the way to meeting a new client way back in 2007, this elegant tool gets you in the right mindset for every client meeting you have.
Why this model helps:
We can create a very narrow view of our clients. We can be very task or project focused, or simply blinkered by own perspective, and not fully appreciate that we are not the only thing happening in their world. This tool broadens our thinking by widening our lens on the world of our client, which leads to more empathy and connectedness. It makes it easier for us to help our clients.
How to apply it:
The CIT works on a scale from a ‘5 minute job’ all the way through to being an integrated part of your CRM strategy (we use it the whole way through). For the ‘5 minute job’ print a copy and grab a sharp pencil, imagine yourself in your client’s shoes, and fill in as much as you can. Write in some timescales along the top – for some clients short term is today, medium term end of the month, long term end of the quarter; or others it might be end of the quarter, end of year, 5 year plan – recalibrate yourself to the tempo of their world. As you’re scribbling things in think: objectives, challenges, aspirations, markets, suppliers, competitors, team dynamics, personal hopes and fears, business ambitions, and more. When you arrive at that meeting you will be walking alongside them and be ready for wherever the conversation goes.
For the large version just scale up your resources – get your team involved and pool knowledge from other research sources. Keep your CIT fresh and colour code which bits are facts, assumptions, or questions waiting to be asked.
Some Catseye wisdom:
Don’t get cocky and think 5 minutes thinking means you know that person and their business better than they do! Do your hard preparation but don’t let it shape your agenda – the most important thing to your client is the thing which is most important to them, not to you!
You’ll notice we also choose 3 themes / stories to take to the meeting which serve to increase the overlap between our world and theirs. Give it a go.