Share Credit With The Client

To insure your success within the client's organization, make sure you share the credit with the client's staff. There is a natural tendency to take credit and say, overtly or subtly, "Look what I did." This is a mistake we all make at some point. We do want our egos massaged, and therefore we want someone to pass on the credit to us. Who doesn't want to feel that they are in some way indispensable or at the very least, appreciated.

You have to remember the big picture however. You have to remember your real purpose is to win business and stay in favor of the client. To do this, you should be willing to share the limelight with the client's staff, not hog it. If you take credit -all the credit - the client's staff will find ways to gun you down.

I am not saying you don't take any credit or at least not be credited as part of the team. This is a fools game. You have to be seen as contributing.

What I am saying is don't take all the credit and find ways to share the credit with others. The clients you work with prefer humble people and are more likely to give you add-on business if you are seen as someone who keeps their "ego-in-check" and is willing to be a member of the team, working behind the scenes, and sharing the credit with others.

Just like you, the client's staff wants to be seen as contributing, and appreciated. We all want some sort of validation of our worth from work. Remember, what you want in terms of ego gratification, so do they. And remember, your real purpose is to win add-on business, not win a plaque that says, "Did it all by himself."

Good Luck! Joe Murphy

Establish Deeper Relationships Within Your Key Accounts

In any account that you value, you must learn to never leave the trust of your business in the hands of just one person with whom you have an established relationship.

When you do this - you are putting your business in jeopardy. Eventually the person with whom you have the relationship leaves, gets reorganized to a position that can no longer help you or simply has no power over a project you are trying to win.

Of course we all do this - that is - work with one person more than we'd care to admit. It is comfortable to build that relationhip and not leave it. It takes courage to try to establish other relationships - it is the courage over the feeling of rejection. We might not be accepted by others and rather than try to address it and over come the initial rejection (all rejection is initial - unless there is a really good reason to keep you at arms length and there rarily is), we make excuses as to why we don't establish other relationships in the client's organization.

A really good reason we fail to establish other relationships is the one that goes along the lines of this: "We will piss off the person with whom we've an established a relationship."

Actually, it sounds good and it is NOT a good reason. It is only a good reason because it has some ring of logic to it. But in reality it is an excuse for fear of rejection as mentioned above.

One reason to fear rejection, is not establishing enough value as to why others would want a relationship. And the ability to golf or tell good jokes is not a way of establishing real value. So you must become creative as to why someone would want to meet with you and trust you.

But I digress as I usually do. And why do I digress? It is because these topic dovetail into other topics and nothing is ever black and white and no subject in selling has clear borders from other subjects.

But the point to this point of view is this; You must permeate the structure of the client's organization so that your relationship runs deeper than with just one person. You want as many people as possible not only be aware of you and the benefits of your services but also to be comfortable with you. You want as many people as possible within the client's organization to think of you when they have a problem you can address.

This is the lesson we should always keep in mind when working with clients.

Stay In Touch - Out of Sight, Out of Mind

One of your chief jobs in selling your services is to figure out how to stay in touch with your clients and your top prospects. The old adage, "Out of sight, out of mind" should be your marketing mantra.

Whether you work for IBM or Accenture, or you are an independent consultant, try to find ways to stay in contact with your clients. For a variety of reasons, usually because we are too busy, or we don't want to "bother" the other person, or we fear rejection, we often fail to practice this simple and critical strategy.

But you MUST overcome these three excuses if you are going to be successful. The bottom line is this: you will not stay in the minds of your clients unless you stay in touch with them on a regular basis. And if you are not in their minds, they will not think of you when they have work that might be done by you.

Here are three actions you can take right now that eliminate fear of being rejected, eliminate the "I'm too busy excuse" and I don't want to "bother" the other person:

1. Send something of value to the person. Send something like a report, a study or an article you feel would be useful for the person. The key word is useful. Substitute useful for educational if you prefer. It should not be marketing or sales related. In other words, it should not be about you!

2. Call them and leave them a message. Say something like, "I was thinking about you the other day, and I just thought I would drop you a line to see how you are doing." You'd be amazed how much people appreciate this. But you have to mean it and you must not ask for anything (like an appointment).

3. Create a newsletter (or monthly update) via email. Take the example from number 1 above. It has to be about them (not you) and it must be educational or something of value. This may take a little effort on your part. And it make take a little creativity. Most of all, it doesn't have to be by you. A couple of examples to make this easy are: take what you have written for a client - redact the client's name and anything that associates the client with the report. Send the prospect or current client some key parts of the report that may be beneficial or may cause the prospective client to think - "I didn't know they did this kind of work" or "I have a similar issue with our HR organization." Or is could be a something personal development related, like this article on Yahoo

All in all here are three ways to stay in touch. Be like the old AT&T commercial and "Reach Out. Reach Out and Touch Someone" To hear the audio track from this well-known commercial in the latter days of the Bell System, click HERE!

Best of luck Joe Murphy

How Your Prospect Decides to Select You (or the Other Guy)

It's a matter of risks and benefits. Always. Whenever a prospect or client has a problem they need to solve, they consciously lay out the risks of the problem versus the benefits of solving the problem. Once the benefits outweigh the costs or the risks become too great, they are compelled to action.They do the same risk versus benefit analysis when hiring a firm (or individual).

Once the prospect decides the problem is too great not be solved, he (or she) turns to their list of firms to see who can most likely solve this problem. The prospect is evaluating a series of risks in their mind – and is hardly ever spoken about. They certainly want a firm that can do away with the problem. But what they don’t say is; “Which firm will most likely achieve the objective and make me look good (smart)?”

You, in your role, must come across as “been there, done that.”

Prospective clients must feel comfortable with your approach and style. Current clients must already be at ease with you and your consulting style for a follow-on project. Some might call this trust in your ability to get the job done. But this is beyond trust in completing the project. It is a lot of trust and faith in how you and your team handle themselves within their organization.

A simple example would be how you conduct yourself when dealing with a tough manager or when something goes wrong. If the prospective client feels that you and your team would handle the situation as they themselves would handle it, then you are more likely to position yourself to win the business.

Your aim should be to develop a trusting relationship where clients see you as an extension of themselves. This is one of the reasons why having a “sales person” win the business and “just go away” does not work in selling complex and strategic projects. It is also one reason why clients may not invest in the relationship. They have learned that the person selling the project may not be the one managing the project or the account.

So cultivate yourself as someone who would act and react like the person you are selling to – as if you are an extension of them. Act as someone who has their best interests in mind.

Continually demonstrate that hiring your firm has less risks (been there, done that) and that your solution and approach can achieve both the benefits of the project and advantages of making him (or her) look good. When you do this with current clients repeat business will almost inevitably follow.

Put Yourself In the Client's Shoes

From the author of Clientize. How to Win Lifelong Clients. Now available on Amazon.

I have a saying when I advise people on getting their point across or trying to persuade someone, "Always put yourself in the client's shoes, to see and feel what they are experiencing."

Think about it for a moment, but from your perspective. How often do you get a phone call or an email or a request that at the moment, just doesn’t fit in with the urgency of things on your plate right now? You know what I mean. You are in the middle of solving some problem for the company, and a colleague comes rushing with a “you have to get the information updated on the HR system right now, because . . .”

Your immediate reaction is “Don’t they know I am swamped” or “This really is a nit, what I am doing right now is much more important?”

Think about this from your client’s point of view. What is going on in their lives right now and what is it that they are trying to deal with, that your proposition just might not fit in? Understand what could possibly be going on in their lives will help you be much more empathetic and tuned to their needs and actually help you solve some of their issues with your proposition.

When discussing your solution or proposition and you put yourself in the client's shoes, you begin to really listen from their vantage point. Too often we as advisers, consultants and professionals fail to listen carefully to the client and miss what they are saying or not saying. By doing this you can understand the client's perception of his or her problem and, in the process, uncover what, if any, risks the client sees in employing a consultant to help solve the problem.

By uncovering the risks, you uncover the “hidden objections” and by doing this, you can address these proactively, and consultatively, and therefore, move forward to closing your transaction.

To order your copy of the landmark book Clientize--the 25-year survey of what professionals do to win clients business for life, click here.
over 400 pages of client survey information on what makes clients buy from certain professionals


Focus On Benefits With Current Clients

When selling a project or solution to a prospective, new client, we remember to point out benefits and advantages. You know how important benefits and advantages are to demonstrating your solution's value to the new prospect. So, if we know the importance of benefits and advantages, why is it that we forget its importance when talking to current clients?

When we talk to clients we tend to forget that clients need to be reminded of the advantages of the services and solutions we provide. We overlook the reasons to buy, and assume the client understands the benefits "automatically" because they already know us and what it is we provide.

But it is just as important to focus on the benefits of the solution with past or current clients as it is with prospective clients. No matter what you are proposing, you should always look for the benefit or advantage to the organization.

Remember that clients are always more interested in the benefits of your services than they are with how your solution works or how it is put together.

Always focus on the benefits of the solution, by looking at the advantages, the "reason why" they should buy now and from you.

Never all the client to guess what the benefits will be.

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