When I talk to agency owners about their employees, one of the common frustrations I hear is that they’re not strategic enough. Many owners feel like they have to stay in the day to day mix with clients because they’re the only ones who can develop fresh strategies and direction.

In our AE Bootcamps, I teach the attendees to be nosy. We make so many assumptions about our clients’ businesses. But if we had to prove our assumptions, we’d be in trouble. The best and most strategic thinkers I know are the ones who ask the most (and most interesting) questions.

I think agency people need to be good at sticking their noses into our clients’ operations. We should care about, wonder about and ask about everything from how billing is handled to packaging to who answers the phone. It’s all marketing. A great and easy exercise to do is to pull together your team (by accounts they work on) and make an extensive list of what you really don’t know about that specific client. Go into every aspect of their business from sales to production to distribution and operations and dig deep.

Then, share them with your client and work on ways you can learn the answers. You’ll be amazed at how appreciative your client is, the things you’ll uncover and how much smarter your work will be.

Teach your employees how to be nosy. Encourage them to go way beyond the questions on the creative brief. Celebrate when they start asking questions you hadn’t thought of. And best of all — watch how strategic they get.