It's easy to lose sight of the big picture in the day-to-day grind. Sit down, take stock and say these four words to your clients to understand what they need from you right now.
4 magic words to say to every client
It's Q4 and the end of the year is in sight, so everyone is busy. Many of our clients are measured on annual targets and have a short few months to catch up and get the kind of results that delivers a bonus and a pay raise.
It's also important that you finish the year strong so your client sees a clear return on investment from your partnership.
(and also so YOU get a bonus and a pay raise).
So here are the magic four words you need to ask your client now to get everyone across the finish line.
What are your priorities?
Simple and to the point.
After I've said the magic words, then what?
Asking your client what their priorities are is just the beginning. It's a conversation starter and the gateway to a whole of information you need to find out, like:
- What are their business performance drivers right now.
- What individual results are your point of contact expected to deliver?
- Are there any upcoming dates, vacations or events you should be aware of?
- Reappraise needs and priorities. Make a list of those goals and objectives and have the client work with you to put them in order from highest to lowest priority.
- Any changes to budgets, timings or new constraints?
- Get a glimpse of their vision for the 2023 and how they plan to achieve them. Plans and forecasts are already underway if not finalised.
- Current perception of your performance - any gaps, strengths, lingering issues.
- Have their been any changes to their job that's impacting their ability to get things done?
What do I do with the information?
- Offer your support, give your client advice.
- Provide insights and perspective to reframe thinking.
- People want to predict what happens next – add certainty to give confidence in results.
- Help your client focus.
- Inspire them to take action.
Work through any problems or objections.
- Something has gone wrong, ask what do we do?
- Something could go wrong, ask how do we stop it?
- Something has changed, ask how do we adjust it?
- Something could change, ask how do we prepare for it?
- Something new has come up, ask what can we do?
- There are a number of things we could do, ask how do we choose?
Don't forget personal issues. Show that you care about your clients and acknowledge their challenges.
Always remember that beyond business issues, people are also dealing with personal and family issues.
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Workshop: What to do when your client doesn't give a crap
Do you have clients that don't seem to care about working with you. Not even one tiny bit. From day one you've been climbing a huge wall of indifference and getting nowhere.
Then my next workshop is for you.
I'm not talking about clients who have are dis-engaged. I'm talking about clients who never cared to begin with.
You would think that someone who paid for your services would be interested in working with you to get the most value from them, right?
Picture it. You've just been handed a client (inherited or new), and from the very first day you discover:
- No one wants to talk to you.
- They don't return calls or answer emails.
- They cancel last minute, or worse, no-show to your scheduled meetings.
- They have zero interest in collaborating with you.
- You feel like have to re-sell your value every time.
Why does this happen, and how do we get out of of this trap?
We're going to figure it out together.
Worth a click
+ 45 Best Questions to Ask Your Client to Get to Know Them. A blog post and video to help you understand clients. It covers question types, styles, and specific things to ask about your client's organisation, targets, industry, supplier management, and what they think of you.
+ Foundations of Strategy. Learn the basics of strategic analysis. Understand how the competitive environment and internal resources and capabilities impact performance. It's only 9 hours in total to complete and available for free via Coursera. Highly recommended.
+ The KAM Club. The world's most amazing community of key account manager. Inside you'll find all the tools, templates, guides, workshops, training and coaching you need for a successful career in key account management.
Quote of the week
"It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view" ― George Eliot
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