Engage your clients

This week, I attended a second training seminar at WritePoint: “how to engage your employees”. It was led by the excellent Ron Bowman of the Dale Carnegie Training Center (DCTC).

A post-discussion raised the question, what happened if the talk had been customer orientated, rather than focused on employees? We felt that the same principles should be applied. Here’s what I mean.

I am involved in business development. Using themes prompted by the DCTC, let me ask: What makes us proud of what we do? For myself, simple – I aim to provide a quality, professional service to my clients. I help others. This level of intent enables me to overcome one of the restrictions which I have to overcome; scepticism.

And how I do engage with the customers? I aim to inspire them, twice over. At a first level, I alert them to the fact that commercial challenges can be a thrill rather than simply pose a threat of potential disaster. And secondly, I offer customers hope, a belief that we can work things out together.

Bowman quoted a UK survey that of 1,500 managers 55% look for inspiration in their peers, but only 11% find it. I would wager that a similar stat applies to customer relationships. Frightening and damning in one!

And here’s the next amazing consideration. Inspiration is often based on your skill sets or attitude. For example: –

  • ability to communicate simply
  • reliability
  • showing vision
  • listening
  • demonstrating respect

Maybe the key factor is to show honest interest in the client. This is support which goes beyond empathy. Show a sincere passion even in the difficult meetings. 

A few days back, I met with a new potential client. Not an easy conversation, but I applied many of the above factors. 60 minutes later, the “target” was fully charged about the importance of what I had offered, and we were talking about next stages.

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