“Personally, I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So, when I went fishing, I did not think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I did not bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish and said: “Wouldn’t you like to have that?”
Why not use the same common sense when fishing for people?”
― Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
If we are honest and objective with ourselves, every client meeting, whether a new client or an existing one, is a fishing expedition. We are either hoping to “hook” them as new business opportunities or making sure they are being “taken care of” properly to spawn new business. Either category requires an internal and intimate knowledge of your client and their needs.
- WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS AND OBJECTIVES?
Understanding your client’s priorities and what they hope to achieve from your engagement with them is the primary key to your strategy as well as your success. It can also help you tailor your approach to their specific needs.
Meeting your client’s goals requires careful planning, execution, and communication. Here are steps you can take to ensure that you meet their needs in a timely and effective manner.
Understand your client’s goals: The first step to meeting your client’s goals is to fully understand what they are. Take the time to listen to your client’s needs and objectives and ask clarifying questions to ensure that you have a clear understanding of their goals. Develop a plan: Once you have a clear understanding of your client’s goals, develop a plan to achieve them. This plan should include specific strategies, timelines, and metrics for measuring success. Execute the plan: With a solid plan in place, it is time to execute. This requires clear communication, collaboration, and diligence. Make sure that everyone on your team aligns with the plan and understands their roles and responsibilities. Monitor progress: As you execute the plan, closely monitor progress against the goals you have set. This will allow you to identify any issues or roadblocks early on and adjust as needed. Communicate regularly: Finally, it is important to communicate regularly with the client throughout the process. Provide regular updates on progress, share successes and challenges, and see feedback to ensure that you are meeting their expectations. By following these steps, you can build a strong partnership with your client and deliver on their goals with confidence and clarity.
- WHAT CHALLENGES ARE YOU FACING CURRENTLY?
Identifying any roadblocks or obstacles that your client is encountering, and helps you develop solutions to address these challenges.
Active listening: The first step in identifying roadblocks. By actively listening to your client, you ask open-ended questions and let them express their concerns and challenges without interruption. This will help you understand their perspective and identify the root causes of the challenges they are facing.
Ask probing questions: Once you have identified the challenges, ask probing questions to get more information about the issue. This will help you gain a deeper understanding of the problem and identify workable solutions.
Brainstorm solutions: With a clear understanding of the challenge, brainstorm viable solutions with your team. Consider all feasible options and evaluate their feasibility, cost, and impact on the client’s business.
Develop a plan: Once you have identified the best solution, develop a plan for addressing the challenge. This plan should include specific action steps, timelines, and responsibilities.
Implement the plan: With a solid plan in place, it is time to implement it. Make sure everyone on your team understands their role and is executing the plan and monitor progress closely to ensure that it is working effectively.
Communicate regularly: Throughout the process, communicate regularly with your client to keep them informed of progress and any changes to the plan. This will help build trust and ensure that everyone aligns with the solution.
By following these steps, you can identify and address roadblocks and obstacles that your client is encountering and develop effective solutions that help them achieve their goals.
- HOW CAN WE/I BEST SUPPORT YOU?
This question demonstrates your commitment to your client’s success and enables you to provide tailored support that meets their needs. It also encourages open communication and fosters a collaborative relationship between you and your client. Here are five ways to show your commitment and provide tailored support:
Understand your client’s business: Take the time to understand your client’s business, industry, and unique challenges. This will enable you to provide tailored support that meets specific needs.
Communicate regularly: Regular communication is key to building trust and fostering a collaborative relationship. Schedule regular check-ins with your client to provide updates on progress, discuss any challenges, and seek feedback.
Be responsive and initiative-taking: Be responsive to your client’s needs and address any issues promptly. Additionally, be proactive in identifying potential challenges and offering solutions before they become major problems.
Be transparent: Be transparent about your approach, processes, and results. This will build trust and demonstrate your commitment to your client’s success.
Measure results: Establish metrics for measuring success and regularly report on progress. This will show your client the impact of your work and demonstrate your commitment to delivering results.
By demonstrating your commitment to your client’s success and providing tailored support, you can build a strong and collaborative relationship that fosters open communication and drives results. By asking these three easy questions and following the steps provided, you are all but guaranteed to be indulging in “strawberries and cream” in no time.