Something has happened in your client relationship, and it’s broken. Maybe you missed a major deadline, maybe something was said that shouldn’t have been, maybe there was a major error in a deliverable. Maybe it was actually your client who did something wrong.
It actually doesn’t really matter what’s happened (it’s all in the past) – it’s what you do to repair the relationship that counts. Many consultants I know will try to avoid or ignore the problem in the hope that it goes away. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. In fact, the longer you leave it, the worse it gets.
So, here’s what I think are the top three most critical things you need to do to repair the relationship. And importantly, these should be done face-to-face with the client – not over the phone, and definitely not by email.
1. Acknowledge it’s happened. Show that you understand the impact the problem had on them.
This week I’ve asked Vanessa Bluen, Managing Director of our South African affiliate partner The Consultant Powerhouse, to write a guest post on what she sees are the biggest sales mistakes being made that are jeopardising the success of the companies she works with. None of you will be surprised to know that they are the same mistakes I see being made in Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Hong Kong….in fact, everywhere I go.
11 Sales Mistakes that could Jeopardise Your Company
by Vanessa Bluen, Managing Director, The Consultant Powerhouse
As economies fluctuate so strategies need to adapt. This has always been the case, however now as the world around us changes [...]
So you’ve just finished a great meeting with a new client or prospect. But as you walk out the door you think to yourself – what do I do now to deepen the relationship and not fall into sales pitch mode?
Most people will head back to their desk and write a thank you note, maybe send some minutes. If there were actions that came out of the meeting, you might spend some time doing those and sending them through. These are all OK things to do, but the problem is it’s not engaging in any way for the other person – in fact, you’ll probably be lucky to get much of a response, if you get one at all. It just won’t help you advance the relationship in any meaningful way.
Some may even feel compelled to send a brochure of some sort, which could destroy all the hard work you put into building the relationship with one press of a button.
So what’s the answer? To me, it’s using a CC (Clarify & Confirm) Note.
A CC Note is one of the most bas [...]
Today I’m going to share some real life insights with you from a panel session I facilitated last week for the Consult Australia Queensland Division on ‘what clients want from consultants.’
The panel consisted of three economic buyer clients (two from Queensland Government departments and one from a Government Owned Corporation), 30 minutes, and me asking the questions we all want to know about what’s going on inside our client’s minds…but for some reason rarely ask.
The key take out, of course, is that no two clients want the same thing – so never make assumptions and get to know and understand them as individuals. But there were some common themes which I’ve outlined below together with some ideas on what you can do in response.
1. ‘Get to know me as a person’.
When I as [...]
Last week we looked at what you can say when someone asks how you’re different (if you didn’t see it and you’d like to take a look, you can do that here . At the end of that video I indicated that once you’ve discovered a benefit (that you offer) that is of interest to the other person, you need to tell them a story about how you’ve helped another client actually realise this same benefit.
Telling stories is one of the best tools you’ve got in your sales conversation toolbox. Stories allow you to share with a current or prospective client a little bit about yourself and what you do but from the perspective of how it’s helped someone else, so you move away from the traditional statements of intent and capability – statements that start with things like ‘we can do this’ or ‘we will do that’.
The problem with those statements is that they come across as boastful, [...]
It’s one question we all dread getting asked. You’re talking with a prospective client and then they pause, look at you thoughtfully and ask ‘So, what makes you different?’
What do you say?
In the moment it’s easy to start rattling off a list of features (we’re the biggest, we’re the best at), but there are much better ways to answer this question that are going to have a more powerful impact, and make the person you’re talking to engage with you now or want to speak with you again. What comes out of your mouth next could determine your entire future with this client.
In mind, how you answer depends on the situation you’re in.
At the beginning of a meeting
If the question gets asked at the beginning of a meeting, the most impactful response is ‘Well, my view is probably a little biased, so I’m hoping by the end of this meeting that you’ll be in the best position to answer that. Are you okay if we revisit [...]
‘Can you contact me again in a couple of weeks?’ 3 steps to consider when your client or prospect postpones you.
So you’ve written what you think is a great I We U, and you’ve received a response from your client or prospect saying they’d love to meet only they’re a little busy at the moment, and can they come back to you in a couple of weeks time?
What does this mean, and what should you do now? My view is that while there’s a chance that they really are too busy, if your U statement is compelling enough they’ll want to make time for you in their diary. So, here’s 3 steps I’d recommend you take.
Step 1 – Reflect. Go back to your U statement (where you indicated what value THEY are going to get from the meeting). Was it strong enough to really get the client excited about meeting you? Was it low on self-interest? Did it avoid using words like ‘solutions’ and ‘our product/service’ or ‘how I can help you’. If you didn’t already run it past someone else for feedback before you sent it (which I recommend you always do), do so n [...]