Client delivery does not just reap value in terms of fees, further experience and worthwhile productivity. It also offers further opportunities. The relationship does not end with the service delivery and the delivery should not end without including these three actions.
1. Write up a case study. If you ask your client for a quote (even if you draft this for them), then the study is more interesting. Again, if you can mention the company, it becomes more powerful. The three elements should include – the objective (i.e. the challenge), the outcome and the benefits.
2. Ask for a testimonial either at the end or very shortly afterwards, whilst the client is still thinking of you. Use the testimonial on your web-site and in marketing material.
3. Ask your client “Do you know of anyone else who could benefit from this service?”. When you get a name, ask if they are prepared to introduce you. After the first name, ask for a second. Three references is ideal so long as you avoid “pestering” them.
The Week. Networking on a selected basis this week, following up with 1-2-1 meetings. The first was with the owner of a company providing Customer Relationship Management software. He has the challenge of whether to outsource and if so, what and when. Starting small it is always difficult to think about paying someone to do something you can do when you don’t feel that your income levels justify the expenditure. My questions to him were, for each potential activity:- “what is the risk?”, followed by “what would you need to do to manage that risk?” and “what would you do with the time released by not having to do this?”. So, what is the value of your time saved? Another area we dipped into was his level of comfort around the perceived loss of control through delegating. He concluded that outsourcing the accounts was probably o.k as long as he kept his eye on the numbers but perhaps scoping client projects may be a step too far. The second meeting with an entrepreneur with 3 companies included a discussion on social media and what I have found useful. I pointed him to ezine articles as a useful website to share knowledge and promote your own expertise. www.ezine.com. I have also added a couple of LinkedIn PlugIns to my profile. One automatically uploads my blogs and the second features my events. I also developed my own LinkedIn web address which is easier to remember. http://uk.linkedin.com/in/rcchfd
// The next Highflyingdivas Forum on the 23rd November in Chelmsford is 50% full with attendees including a Director of one of the big 4 consultancies and the Marketing Director of a large direct mail company. Spaces still available at http://hfd1.eventbrite.com. So far, take up at the open event for male and female business leaders on the 10th December in Colchester is slower. Guys, I responded to the challenge that you were not being catered for …… Registration at http://lmf.eventbrite.com.
Recommended Reading. This week’s books is recommended by a member of the Highflyingdivas Forum, Jen Tiller. She writes “I’ve enjoyed reading Daniel Priestley’s “Become a Key Person of Influence”. All about becoming a major player in your industry (or more easily, micro-industry!). Went to one of his seminars on the weekend – other speakers included two favourites of mine, Penny Power and Mindy Gibbins-Klein”.
Lighter Reflections. I live in Essex. Actually I live in Colchester, East Anglia but trying to point this out only receives a raised eyebrow as my audience assumes I am trying to avoid the harsh reality that I live in the region now famous for “The only way is Essex”. My erstwhile “friends” take great delight in forwarding You Tube excerpts and making, I suppose what they perceive as highly amusing enquiries, such as “Is Harry your neighbour?” I flinch and cringe and denounce their childlike naivety that everyone in Essex must fit the glamorous and enchanting profiles shown on-screen. Of course we don’t.
I had to question this, however, when visiting the hairdressers this week. I know that hairdressers receive the same obligatory training on engaging with your customer. First of all, we, as clients, are obliged to give a tip to everyone “taking care” of us. They are, therefore, ordered to involve as many people as possible in the whole hairdressing process. There is the attendant who takes your coat, leads you to the chair and asks if you would like a drink. Then the stylist, then another attendant to walk you to the sink, and maybe wash your hair. Another attendant to take you back. Finally, there is always someone new to dry your hair. Then the stylist returns to confirm that yes, you have had, what you ordered and what they performed. This results in you paying X for your haircut and 5 times X to cover each and every attendant. This involves you going through the ritual of “£…. for the dyed-blonde girl with the ponytail who walked me to the basin, £…. for the young lad with spots who dried my hair, £….. for the fashion-challenged person (I couldn’t determine the gender) who made my drinks.” And so on.
Then there is the ritual of client engagement. They are all told up to the summer period, they must ask “Going anywhere nice for your holidays?”. Then on your next visit during or just after the summer “Did you go anywhere nice for your holidays?”. Fridays and Saturdays, it has to be “Going anywhere nice this weekend?”. Well, after the usual peppering of required questions, I was asked “Would you like a drink?”. I responded with, “Yes please, a black tea.” To be greeted with “Would you like milk and sugar with that?”. Of course I always have milk with my black tea. After the trip to the washbasin, I was asked again by, this time my third attendant, and responded, again, with “black tea please”. This time, it was brought to me with “I brought a jug of milk but just ignore it”. Why? I then looked down to see a jug of coffee next to the milk. No tea in sight!