Have you ever struggled to deal with the backbone of your business? Referring to none other than your clients. Those who keep your business alive - and kicking.
To say they can be fickle is an understatement. As we all know, they want, they need and they command. Most of all, they make what your business is and stands for. Therefore, without a doubt, it is the most important relationship you can cultivate.
THE FIRST IMPRESSION
Everything has a beginning. There is the moment in time where you spot that particular person. You lock eyes. Perhaps a faint smile and then boom a move is made. Yes, forming a relationship with a new client is like anticipating to date that special person. However, the client relationship is platonic. Obviously. No hanky-panky is on the cards. Well, not the physical type anyway.
To woe a newcomer to your business is a tricky situation. You need to tread carefully not to overstep the mark or step on some toes. First impressions always count the most. Hence being on your best behaviour is a must. Be prepared and ready. Remember, your brand is not only what your business provide, it also is who and what you are. In other words, you definitely have to look the part. You are an extension of your company’s brand. Show it. Make it work. And let your confidence speaks loudly. After all, you’re about to take the first step and make a move.
It is essential to adopt a strategy whereas you see the situation from their point of view. To put yourself in the clients’ shoes is critical. Only then you can visualise what is possible. This part is not easy and demand practice. The more you set out to figure out how to deal with the situation the better you will get at it. Like personal relationships, the successful business relationship takes effort and careful planning. To dive right in does occasionally work for some, however to take the slow approach is guaranteed to bring longterm satisfaction. Just like there is little need to be over tactful during a personal date, likewise should be implemented with clients. Remember, this is your first time together so use your time wisely. Listen and learn. Make the meeting a 2-way conversation. It is important to collect as much info from your client (regarding their company and needs) since it may be the only moment you get to impress them.
THE NEXT MOVE
Once you have a client hooked on you, the time has come to put your money where you mouth is. Time to present and show them what you are made of. Still not necessary to go over the top with your achievements, but certainly time to make sure the client realises they are in trusted company. Convince them they are in good, safe hands. Build on what you learned about them so far. This will show them that you took note of their needs and what they want to achieve. Remember the bit about seeing it from their point of view - not only is this important now, it will be relevant throughout the time spend together.
To accept the need for compromise will make the meeting so much more effective. Yes, the client is talking to you as they are in need of help and guidance. However, it is important to remember that it’s not about you and what you really want. Your desires and plans can come to life, but only with support from them. The best way to achieve this is by putting value on the table first and foremost. Once they can see and believe you intentions are genuine you stand a good chance of successfully let them eat out of your hand.
THE LONGTERM PLAN
Now that the ball is in your court, play it well. Be the gentleman in the relationship. Show passion and respect. Be forceful within reason. It is still early days and you have to be on your guard. To assume it’s plain sailing from now on is dangerous. One small step in the wrong direction and it’s all over and done with. You may think that they’re loosing out - trust me, the only one really loosing is you. Clients have the knack of moving on very swiftly. There is a long line of people behind you so they can easily turn to the next possibility. Remember, they are fickle. And most of the time high maintenance. Don’t be scared by this. So far so good. Just don’t mess it up right now.
Your attitude should be that of in it for the long haul. There is a very satisfying aspect to clients that came on board and then come back again and again. This kind of situation is great since they will keep you on your toes at all times. You will have to step up your game and provide new and fresh ideas for each project that follows. In the long run this will only be good for both your business and you - the complete brand package you live by. Visualise the big picture and broaden your horizon. Now is not the time to be small and narrow minded.
To obtain a special relationship is exactly that: special. Even if you’re still within the first project and therefore within the honeymoon period, there is a strong possibility that prospects are looking up. The time has come to cement the trust and believe you have in each other. It is here where the hard work starts. Now is the time to build on the foundation you’ve laid within the first few days/weeks. Make sure that all the conversations weren’t a waste of time. You have made true promises. You need to deliver and stand tall. Don’t fall prey to what so many businesses do - they go stale. There is no need to end the relationship. In other words, to call it a day. That will be far too easy. So for those who enjoy a challenge and are up for it, go for it. Show your commitment and the thirst you have to build a satisfying marriage. Many people will believe that opportunities are far and few in between. Rightly so too. Therefore take the bull by the horns and keep going.
If coaching and mentoring is what you need help with to deal with your client relationships, get in touch. What have you got to loose? On second thoughts, don’t answer that. Let’s rather talk and figure out how we can together solve any issues you have. Solutions are on hand.