All any of us really want is acknowledgement. We want to know that our ideas are heard, our contributions are valued and our successes are celebrated.
I’ve worked in client-facing roles for the last few years now and something I’ve learnt is that clients are no different to the rest of us. Whether it’s a confirmation of receipt, a holding-email, or a thank you message to your prospective client following a meeting, these seemingly insignificant actions and gestures convey your eagerness to establish and maintain a relationship.
Something as simple as having a ‘no devices in meetings’ policy — either for yourself or your company — reassures clients that they have your undivided attention. These things may seem insignificant or of little note, but they are important, and can make all the difference. Whether it’s remembering a client’s birthday or their coffee order, these gestures highlight your attention to detail, as well as demonstrate your level of commitment and dedication.
Your client’s time is precious and not something to be squandered. And whilst you sometimes may not be able to avoid being late for a meeting or missing a deadline, as long as you tell them ahead of time, then you are successfully managing their expectations. That’s all they want: status updates and being kept in the loop. The one thing you should avoid at all costs is being No wants to be a nagger — or to be nagged.
While I thought this was common practice, I have realised that not all companies are accustomed to predicting and preempting clients’ wants and needs. From preparing meeting agendas and providing minutes, to providing timely follow-ups, clients simply want to feel looked after, and your pro-activity can do just that. You are their adviser, their sounding board, and in some aspects, perhaps even a trusted friend.
Clients may be paying for your time and advice, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t respect theirs. They want to feel heard. It’s not as if they’re going to complain that you fawn over them too much. I mean, who doesn’t like feeling special?