How are you faring with your clients? Not sure?
To be certain you’re doing well, here are the good signs: 1. Clients thank you on a regular basis. 2. They pay your invoices promptly. 3. They respond well to your recommendations.
If any of your answers is no, they’re clues that things aren’t going well. Candidly, you won’t have a long-term working relationship — if the die is cast and unless you get busy with some positive footwork.
Is it because they don’t have confidence in you or they feel you take them for granted? If the latter is the case, bear in mind that clients terminate relationships with consultants 70 percent of the time because they don’t feel appreciated.
Both stem from a lack of trust.
Start remedying your relationships with effective client meetings:
1. Always plan in advance. Prepare agendas. Rehearse your presentations. Arrive early. If your clients keep you waiting, don’t panic. Remember, “The longer they keep you waiting, the more they want you.” So sit quietly and find something to do.
2. Be an active listener. After some initial small talk, the first item on your agenda should be your clients’ concerns. So using strong eye contact before you start your presentations, ask your clients what their concerns or questions are.
Be mindful of this adage: “People don’t care what you have to say until they have their say.” Successful professionals know how to ask questions and listen in 80 to 90 percent of the conversations.
Remind the clients of the current objectives. Trust me, especially at the highest of levels, they often forget. As you go through the agenda, take notes. If you’re criticized, don’t get defensive. Continue to take notes. Empathize.
If there’s a disagreement, don’t worry and don’t always try to win every argument. If the clients have ideas and if they’re not unproductive, congratulate them for having a good idea. Clients want professional services, but they still dislike know-it-all consultants. But if you have to pursue a point, use a diplomatic phrase such as “You might wish to consider…”
In the event you don’t know the answer to a question or concern, set a time to get back to the client. Clients are impressed with well-thought answers or suggestions.
3. Make every client meeting an event. Dress as becomingly as you can – even if you have casually dressed clients. Soon, they’ll realize how important you consider them.
Smile and be well-mannered to everyone in the organization. Even if you’re having a bad-hair day, don’t allow yourself to appear to be distracted or look tired. Remain standing until you’re invited to take a seat. Use your best posture at all times.
Find a reason to compliment the clients and their employees, and offer a friendly handshake. When speaking, act with confidence. Know that you have the power to light up the room. As you go through the agenda, make sure there’s agreement on action to be taken.
Summarize, and reiterate the objectives. Be sure to thank the clients with a handshake and a smile when the meeting concludes.
From the Coach’s Corner, here are related articles:
- 60 Ground Rules for Effective Client Service
- 6 Tips to Increase the Quality, Quantity of Your Client Referrals
- Valuable Secrets for Profitable Deal-Making with Clients
“The first thing you’ve got to remember is that it’s your clients’ money you’re spending.”
-Richard Morris Hunt
Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.