I have been gone longer than planned. I apologize to those of you who reached out to me for leaving you hanging for so long. It was not my intention to be gone for quite this long. However, life gets in the way. Mostly good things going on, but its so easy to get distracted.
I am putting the finishing touches on my latest book: 'Better Business Development Now: A Bare Bones Guide to Get More Clients!' It's a labor of love that has taken many incarnations over the years and I am grateful that the timing for this book's release and publication coincides with some of the most advanced technology Amazon.com and Createspace have ever done for publishing platforms and authors.
On with the Show!
So, back to the business at hand. In my last post, I had mentioned that I would share with you the thing you need to be focusing on more deeply than the relationship you are developing with your clients. It doesn't matter if they are prospective or existing clients or clients who are now former clients. For every single one of them, this is the number one thing that they are looking for in the relationship with you, your employees and your company.
Too often, the focus on relationship-building and relationship-building activities in the form of dinners, rounds of golf and everything else take center stage before and even during the working relationship between provider and client. The level of trust seems to increase as likability increases. The problem is that many times, the prospective client confuses likability with competence. Eventually, after all of this relationship-building your business development reps and you do, the client wants to fire you anyway?
Cutting to the Chase
No matter what industry you are in or what kind of professional services you provide, the thing you need to focus on more than developing relationships with prospective and existing clients is to provide solutions to the client's problems.
Your client came to you because he or she had problems that needed solving. Most clients, if they really care about their business and livelihoods, could care less about a nice round of golf or the type of gift basket you gave them at Christmas if their problem remains unsolved.
I know this isn't the sexy answer you might be looking for, but it's the reality. My years working for and owning my own professional services company proved time and time again that my competitors could outspend me at every turn, but if I was able to solve the problem more quickly, more effectively and at less expense, we were the choice every time.
Don't get me wrong, we did take people out to lunch and for rounds of golf. However, there were many times that a lot of my existing clients would meet me for lunch or golf and laughingly tell me about a nice trip they took or a cool, expensive party they attended and it was all a competitor's expense. Even more crazy, I would get the reassurance from that existing clients that we were still getting all of the business.
The least expensive way for my competitors to have taken our business was also the most challenging. That's why many of them failed at it. It was working on solutions for the prospective clients and continuing to deliver solutions to their existing clients.
Had they done that, it would have killed my business.
You can find out more about this soon in my new book 'Better Business Development Now: A Bare Bones Guide to Get More Clients!' soon available on Amazon and Createspace.