Building strategic relationships take time and involve building trust and respect. Building trust and respect means being consistent and doing the obvious things well.
I was talking with a consultant friend of mine recently and he reminded me that it often is not the smart analytics or process that we bring to the table that grabs our clients attention. It is often what we think is obvious. But the obvious to us is not always obvious to others.
So what are some of the obvious things that we often forget when building client relationships? What are the things we forget to do, don’t do or know about when talking to our contacts??
What should we know, that we don’t? How often do we find that we:
1. Possess little knowledge about them as individuals
Thanks to social media and the intrusiveness of the internet, we can find out a lot about anyone. Before we meet, do we do our homework to find out more about the clients business, their interests, and family?
2. Don’t know what they want
How often do we take the time to understand what the client is really looking for? What are their pain points and what do they need help to solve? Do we ask the right questions and do we have a genuine interest in helping them BEFORE we want to sell them?
3. Are clueless about their priorities
We make a lot of assumptions based on their job title. But what really are their priorities? And how can we help with them?
4. Seldom understand their internal network
Are they well connected internally? Are they lacking some key contacts? Are there people we know that we could connect them too? Can we get hurt or hindered by some of these contacts?
5. Have no deliverables for client meetings
And of course all of the above should be part of our preparation. How often do we “just turn up” from the airport, from the car park, out of a cab? We have no focused objectives or best action outcomes. How can we, therefore, evaluate our investment in that meeting? What did we really accomplish?
The obvious is often the boring. So we move to the more exciting things. But unless we do the simple and obvious consistently well, we have no framework or basis for a process that is repeatable and meaningful and most importantly, measurable.
What are the things that you should know and do…and often don’t?
Peter M. Beaumont is the Founder and Principal of ConnXN. He is also the author of The Relationship Roadmap, a comprehensive guide to building relationships with strategic clients. Find out more at www.ConnXN.net