Provide More Than They Paid

Always give clients the impression that they got a lot more than they paid for. Make sure you give client's a periodic update on the tasks at hand, what you are doing, and what you are going to be doing. Here are some small tips that can make a huge difference:
  1. Show up earlier than anyone in the office.
  2. Be the last to leave. Get a reputation as the one first in and last out (FILO).
  3. Never play games on the computer - ever.
  4. Never search the Internet - even after hours, look at eBay or type responses to blogs.
  5. If you have to make a personal call, step outside at lunch or on a break.
  6. Be the one who goes over their work three times before turning it in.
  7. Remember spell checker is free! And poor grammar can kill.
  8. Don't be a messenger of bad tidings (all the time).
  9. When asked how things are going, say "Excellent!"
  10. Look and act like the CEO. Dress the part. Dress one step above the person you are reporting to. Act so professional, in speaking and in manner.

Sloughing things off - sometimes - may be rationalized away by you. But in the client's mind, they contribute nothing to their project. The appearance of sloughing off can give the appearance of poor quality and a lack of caring. And seen once goofing off - undermines everything you have been trying to build.

Manage how the client perceives you. When you do a good job of this, they will think they received more than their money's worth. Work hard to be viewed as one who provides a high quality service and that is committed to making clients satisfied. Doing so will indeed make for happy clients. And, happy clients provide repeat business.

Out of Sight, Out of Business

Never ever make the mistake of thinking the relationship will be "good enough" that the client will call you if he or she has a need. Never ever expect the client to do the job you are supposed to do by reconnecting when they have a problem or issue that you can solve.

"Out of sight, out of mind" is the expression we all know too well. But here's my expression for professionals, "Out of sight, out of mind, outta business."

Re-connect with your past clients on a regular basis. Find "reasons" to contact the client every two to three months. Especially just following the conclusion of a completed project. Your reason to this is of course, to ensure that what you have done is still working.

If things are not working the way you or your client wanted them to work, what an ample opportunity to demonstrate your follow through and commitment to the client's success by making a follow-up visit! Be, prepared to "fix" them for the client free of charge if the problem results from the work you performed.

This will demonstrate that you truly have the client's interests in mind, will cement her trust in you and will lead to repeat business almost certainly.

When you do this, the client will become an advocate for you, and in all likelihood, look for ways to repay you with new business or become a great reference for you.

Develop Peer Client Relationships

"Be careful of who you hang around with." This is the warning a parent tells their child. And we all know why.

In the selling of professional services, it's an essential fact that if you are not at the right level in the client's organization, you may find yourself without business, and suddenly competing on price against other professionals that are not up to your level of competence.

If you are at the wrong level, you will find certain people or users of consulting services, or high-end professional solutions feeling threatened by what you offer. They may even look down at you - not because you are a threat, but because they see you as scavengers. (This is of course a defensive mechanism that relates back to a threat).

And you want to avoid this syndrome at all costs.

On the other hand, you do not want clients to see you as one of their employees. Because, then, any advice you provide will not be seen with the same impact or sage-ness.

What you really want is to create a peer relationship based on mutual trust and professional respect. This is done by asking yourself; "Which person in the client's organization stands to gain professionally if this project goes well?" The converse is also true - "What if it fails?" This is the person you want to have the relationship with.

Be careful who you befriend. I know too many consultants, who wanted to have friends at every level, and what wound up happening is that they became too close and the lower level person started to look for chinks in the armor - and of course - he found them. The next thing was the firm had to compete on price and rates . . . which is not where you want to be!

Let Your Clients Know What Other Solutions Your Offer

One of the sorriest days we can have, is when a really loyal client purchases services from another firm, services that you can provide, and have provided successfully. The client just assumed that you didn't provide that type of service.

Far too often, we are viewed by clients as only being able to perform the services we are currently providing. We have become, "pidgeon-holed," or as they say in Hollywood, you've been "type-cast." Make sure your clients know what services you perform and solutions you can offer. You do not want to be pegged as a consultant who does "X" if you are capable of doing "X, Y and Z."

This is particularly important in your work with new clients. Inform them of all of the different services that you can provide. Do it formally or informally. But let them know. Of course, you need to be subtle in presenting your other skills. And, you must not overstate what you can do.

Here are 3 ways to let them know:

  1. One simple technique is have some case studies or whitepapers available to send to the client.
  2. Another technique is talk about a client who had some similar needs and how you went about resolving them.
  3. And finally of course, is ask the client if you can have 10 minutes just to walk through a PowerPoint Deck of your services.

Of course you'd better be ready to explain right away that this is only a 3 to 5 pager deck, and it is not a bunch of words in bullet format. People hear PowerPoint, and they run for the hills. Your deck is only a "table of contents" type of deck and one with diagrams or sample snap-shots of client results.

The point is - make sure your client knows what it is you can do!

No Client Wants To Be Upstaged or Worse - Look Bad

No client wants to be upstaged. Worse, is the fear of looking bad. Every consultant or professional, providing high-level solutions, needs to insure the client he or she will not be embarrassed if they hire you for a project.

This is the number one fear or concern, behind whether you can do the work.

To get around this, you must demonstrate through competence and professionalism, your desire to keep things confidential on all matters - and that if there are issues or problems, these will be addressed privately with the person who has hired you and is ultimately responsible for the outcome you are to produce.

How do you get around, over and through this hurdle I am often asked? First, do what you say you will do. By doing what you say you will do, you build confidence. You demonstrate your ability to get things done and follow up on promises. While not directly related to the hurdle of never exposing the client, it is related to it's core foundational root - that is trust. You are building up trust. This means, if you are to a be at a meeting at 3PM, you are at the meeting at 3PM, not a second after, no matter what happens.

Second, never ever tell tales out of school. This means, never ever tell the current client about another client's problems or issues or incompetence's.

Third, begin by complimenting clients for the things that they do well. Do it often. This helps to reduce this common fear of the consultant or professional will "expose all the weaknesses we have." Everyone has weaknesses and problems. Sometimes an organization is "lucky" to have in place what they have.

Like the old joke of the farmer telling the traveling preacher, "You should have seen the farm when God had it by himself."

When you do find a problem, make an appointment with the person who hired you and your firm. Ask for 10 minutes, provide your finding, explain the risk and how it can be fixed. And move on.

The client will not see you as just a problem-seeker trying to promote further more work.

Be Committed to the Client's Success, Not Yours

If you are committed to the client's success, ultimately, you will be successful.

Your clients must see you as someone who is committed to their success. This means that you must be committed to the business' success - by meeting the goals and objectives of the solution you proposed. It also means making the people who hired you look good.

The best compliment is having the client tell a prospective client say, "I cannot tell whether he works for me or his firm."
When the client see you as an extension of him, you have achieved success.
Focus on the client's interests all the time. Ask yourself; "Is this the best thing for the client?" When the answer is "Yes" - you are on your way to achieving the client's success.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner