The client relationship can be seamless and productive if you’re both on the same page. Above all else, clients want to know that you get them—their business, their industry, their goals and their challenges. And that can take some time. Instead of going in to your next meeting guns a blazin’ with your grand plans about what’s best for them—slow it down. Listen. Ask questions. Then, listen some more.
Here are 10 valuable tips from a client that will help you raise the bar on the service you provide.
1. Keep My Best Interest Top of Mind
I have a lot on my plate, so I need to trust that you are not only keeping your eye on the ball, but also looking down the road to spot both obstacles and opportunities. And if you can solve issues without consulting me, all the better … but don’t wait so long to bring me into the loop that I am caught off guard or we lose opportunities.
2. Make Me Look Good in Front of My Boss & My Team
As my partner, I expect you to collaborate with me to provide sound recommendations, the rationale to defend them and the support needed to sell them to upper management.
3. First Execute & Deliver, Then We Can Talk Additional Support
You earn the right to ask for more business only after you have proven yourself. If you're focusing on new business while we're in the midst of planning a program, I worry that you'll compromise the success of what I've entrusted to you.
4. Unsolicited Ideas for Improvement Let Me Know I’ve Chosen the Right Partner
I hired your company because you possess deep expertise in this arena, have access to best practices in the industry and knowledge of what has/hasn’t worked for other clients. I count on you to provide me with this information and inspiration.
5. I Need You to Be a Bit of a Jedi
Even though I do my best, I don’t always state my needs as clearly as desired. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and push for clarification when needed to help decipher my requests.
6. I’d Rather Hear From You Too Much Than Wonder Where You Are
Keep me ‘in-the-know’ at all times. I'd rather wade through 10 emails updating me on the status than to risk being blindsided—especially when it involves a sensitive issue or potential problem.
7. Stick to the Budget (Period)
When I agree to a budget, I assume that will be my maximum liability unless I make a change. I look to you to carefully monitor what has been spent and where we may be at risk. And please don’t inform me of an overage after the fact when I have no power to influence the decision one way or another.
8. Your Expertise Is Appreciated (Even When It Isn’t Followed)
As an outside partner, you bring something very valuable to the table: objectivity. Even though I may not always solicit feedback or act on your suggestions, I want and need your opinion and perspective.
9. Keep Meetings Short & Sweet
I am over-scheduled and need every minute of my day to be productive. If a meeting is necessary, you can help by streamlining the agenda, inviting only key players and keeping the discussion on topic and focused.
10. Let’s Keep Work Talk at Work
If we travel or spend extended time together, don’t feel a need to have all our conversations revolve around the business. I need a break from numbers, contracts and timetables in order to recharge—as I am sure you do. Instead, I’d prefer to use this time to get to know each other better on a personal level.
Once you take into account all these factors, you’ll be well on your way to a long-term partnership that will hopefully last a lifetime. Authentic, lasting emotional connections are more important than ever. Show people why they should connect with you. Download our ebook, Brand Advocacy and the Emotionally Connected Customer.