CLIENTS: DO THEY TELL YOU EVERYTHING?

by Nancy Myrland on August 14, 2012

 
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Lawyers, what aren't your clients telling you?Do you tell your doctor everything?

Truthfully, do you tell her every little detail of your personal habits…you know, those that could have an impact on your health?

After all, we tell our doctors everything, right?

They’ve heard it all before, so they won’t be shocked.

Hmm…I didn’t think so.

Why?

  • Could it be because you don’t like looking like a failure?
  • Could it be that you don’t like admitting that you are doing something wrong?
  • Could it be that you might hear something you don’t want to hear?
  • Could it be that your doctor might scold you for not doing what you know you should be doing?
  • Could it be that you started out strong on the path they recommended, then fell off target at some point?

Well then….

Let’s think about your clients, which really are your patients, for a moment.

They come to you for a cure, or at least for preventative medicine in the form of advice and counsel, right? What might they be holding back, and why?

  • Are they not telling you that, even though you took care of their matter in June, they have a new one they are embarrassed to tell you about because they didn’t follow your recommendations?
  • Could it be because they’ve known you for so long, and respect you so much, that they don’t want you to know they are failing at something?
  • Could it be they think you are so busy with other clients that their small matter is too small?
  • Could it be because they just met another provider that offers better pricing?
  • Could it be because they don’t feel like you are really listening when you meet with them?
  • Could it be that just one time they’d like you to come to their office to see what they do instead of always coming to your office?
  • Could it be that they are overwhelmed, and aren’t sure how to proceed, even though you’ve given them your advice countless times, and they don’t want to be scolded?
  • Could it be they just messed up again, and don’t want you to know?
  • Could it be they had no idea you offered a particular service, so they went elsewhere?

We often say there should never be any surprises when it comes to our clients knowing what’s going on with the work we are doing for them. Equally as important is that you create an environment in which your clients never have to surprise you with what is going on in their world.

What some might not know, and what they need to hear from you on a repeated basis, is:

  • It’s your job to help them.
  • You have a passion for helping them look better than they looked yesterday.
  • That no matter how bad things get, you want them to call you.
  • That no matter how many times you have to go back to the drawing board, you will always be there for them.
  • That you value having them as a client, and look forward to the next time you can help.
  • That you don’t care how simple or complex their challenge is because you care about all of their business.
  • That you are close-by if something suddenly goes wrong.
  • That both of you are human, and there will be times when things don’t go right, but that’s okay because you are dedicated to helping them.

Of course, find your own words to say those things, but make sure your clients don’t leave you for any of the reasons above, which are ailments that you can probably prevent or cure. Don’t rest on your laurels, and assume your happy clients are going to be there tomorrow.

As Eric Fletcher, Chief Marketing Officer for McGlinchey Stafford PLLC, pointed out on his blog, Marketing Brain Fodder, last week:

“Forget what it used to be like. The successes of yesterday carry no guarantees. Satisfaction is fleeting…quickly becoming the stuff of history.”

Eric wisely summarizes the client/provider situation with the following:

“Shared experiences are one thing. Sharing aspirations is quite another. When a client senses that your aspirations align with theirs — that you are collaborating in the pursuit of the same goal(s) -- the relationship is morphing into partnership. And even in our new normal, the payoff here is a new brand of loyalty.”

If you aren’t already, consider incorporating these practices:

  • Meet with them often to see how they are doing.
  • Show them the side of you that oozes caring, passion and enthusiasm for helping them.
  • Write regularly using Social Media so your clients see that you, too, are human.
  • Ask them about their goals and aspirations, and if they and you are on target for accomplishing them.
  • Remind them of other services you provide that can help with those goals.
  • From time to time, ask them if they are happy with your service, or if there is anything they want you to know.
  • Find out what makes each client satisfied, and take steps beyond that to provide the glue needed for your relationship.
  • In other words, get to know them on a level much deeper and more meaningful than your competition.

What else do you think you can do to help your clients understand they and you are human, and they can come to you with their challenges instead of going elsewhere, thus becoming, as Eric says, “the stuff of history” to you?

Thanks, Eric Fletcher, for inspiring this post by writing yours!

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