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The scoop, the skinny and the whole shebang: A template for streamlining client research

We’re often told that winning new work means knowing as much as you can about a client before you meet them for the first time. That way you can speak with knowledge about the issues they face and demonstrate how your expertise can help.

It’s great in theory. But in reality, new clients often want to meet on very short notice – and that’s where an efficient briefing system can really help.  

One US firm helped Partners streamline their briefs to assistants, juniors, library or marketing staff by creating a language around client research. They called it, ‘The scoop, the skinny and the whole shebang’.

Here’s how it works.

A three tiered approach

Essentially, if you’re going to meet a prospect, you need to be briefed beforehand in one of three ways – depending on how quickly you need to take in information and to what level.  

It also draws on your firm’s existing resources including external databases such as MergerMarkets, Bloomberg, Once Source and IQ, as well as internal databases such as knowledge and client databases, client feedback reports and fee summaries.  

Now, here are those three categories of research:

The scoop

The scoop is for when you have a turnaround time of less than a day.  It’s usually used in cross selling and involves:

The QT (confidential stuff):

  • Headline relationship issues from Client Relationship Partner
  • Confidential company/buyer information
  • Organisational/buyer style
  • Firm fees by practice/service line
  • Key areas of work/matters underway

The Facts (bite size information):

  • Company profit
  • Key executives
  • Financial statistics
  • Main investors/advisers
  • Recent news (last 2 weeks)
  • Summary tax info
  • Litigation highlights
  • Company highlights

The skinny

This involves a turnaround time of two days. It includes the scoop plus:

  • Executive summary
  • Information about firm relationship (past 2 years)
  • All key executives and board members
  • Financial statistics
  • Related Industry litigation, deals and IP Trend reports
  • Investment and analyst reports
  • News articles (past 2 months)

The whole shebang

This has a four-day turnaround time and is for when you need an in-depth knowledge of who you’re dealing with. It includes the skinny plus:

  • Detail regarding investments and subsidiaries
  • Advisory relationships
  • Detail transaction info
  • Detailed financial info
  • Estimates and ratios
  • Key competitor profiles
  • Shareholder info/ownership
  • Executive compensation
  • Key developments
  • News articles (past 6 months)
  • Most recent ASX and ASIC filings

Never get caught short again

And there you have it - a simple system for always being adequately briefed, no matter who you’re dealing with or how tight your deadlines are.

Best of all, once you get the system up and running, it’s unambiguous, replicable and scalable, which means it should suit firms or teams of any size.

So what do you think? Is it something your firm could implement?

Prodonovich Advisory can help your firm develop and implement a system for efficient client research as part of our client intelligence service.

Contact us today to find out how we can help

Sue-Ella Prodonovich