It has come to my attention that the longer I work at the IT Center the more I realize that people really don’t know what they want! Clients will come in wanting programs they have no use for, or ask for things that don’t fit their lifestyle. The problem is that people tend to get caught up in the idea of a certain program or device, but don’t stop to think about the practical side of things. Such practical thought would include, would I use this a lot, is there a simpler way of doing this, or would this work for me? So what I have trouble with is trying to decipher what it is that Clients really need, as opposed to want. We we want a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean it is good for us.
The book brought up some very interesting myths about the quick way to a client’s heart:
1. Clients want what they asked you for.
2. You build trust by demonstrating competence.
If this pic isn’t enough to show you how a clients thought process is then I’ll tell you that Clients rarely ever know what it is they want! And the few Clients that do know what their looking for sure don’t know how to explain it. This is why its so important to Show Them what they want. The best way to do this is to meet up with them often and work on their project little by little, getting a lot of feedback along the way. Its not the Client’s fault that they don’t know because they rarely don’t know what goes into making their dream a reality. So try not to get to frustrated with them and just help them along this process.
You don’t really build trust by showing how competent you are, there are just so many factors that goes into these types of relationships. While it would be nice to just show your past achievements and get instant trust, Clients don’t really focus on the more technical side of things, in fact they don’t notice that stuff. It is actually the little things that you do that win their trust over. Such things would include:
- Answering Phone calls in a timely manner
- Breaking the language down to a Client so that it is easily understood
- Don’t be condescending or rude
- Did deliverables arrive on time
- Where you upfront about any delays, or did you not confront missed deadlines
- Did I get charged what I was estimated
All of these can easily be tackled by keeping Clients in the loop about progress of the project, as well as just being organized and time conscious.
Knowing how hard it is to realize the big picture for Clients is all a part of building your relationship with them. This shows a rough sketch of what it should look like dealing with Clients and building up your relationship with them.
The book gives us 8 great ways to establish strong relationships with Clients. They are as follows:
1. Put yourself in your client’s shoes
2. Find out what a real win looks like for your client
3. Suggest changes to your deliverables if necessary
4. Show them your commitment
5. Take responsibility in getting your point across
6. Tailor your message to the client
7. Demonstrate integrity
These are all solid ways to establish a relationship with Client’s, but when used together you will create a loyal customer for the long-haul. On Forbes.com they also have a very useful article about more ways to build up client relationships. Sometimes you have to take that extra step and show that you really care about their best interest. What every client wants is that human touch. Hopefully after reading this you will be well on your way to providing that for your future clients.