Who doesn’t love new clients? They’re the lifeblood of your organization because they write your paycheck. More than any other time in history, today’s business climate demands solid working relationships. It’s not just a trend, it’s here to stay.
The fact is, when clients hire you, most start out with a healthy dose of skepticism. They may not show it, but it’s there because you’re an unproven entity to them.
What if you aren’t what they thought? What if they hired the wrong guy? How do they know you didn’t just present a great dog and pony show and now they’re about to find out your “true colors?” They’ve been burned by a bad relationship in the past and don’t want to repeat it.
Ironically it’s a good thing. Why? Because that’s not you. There are enough shady businessmen and women out there to create an abundance of opportunity for you. You’re the real deal, nothing snake oil about you.
The question is, how can you break through the clutter and prove to your client you’re not just another Schmoe? Here’s a golden nugget that will change everything. It’s a simple method I use to stand out in a bold way. I offer every new client my three “Count-Ons,” which are the key values that matter most to me.
What this means is a simple, two or three minute conversation, by phone or in person. As soon as a deal is struck and you know you’ll be working together, you have the following conversation with your new client.
- Express gratitude for doing business together.
- Tell your new client there are three specific things she can count on from you. I like working with a set of three; it’s a nice easy number we can wrap our minds around.
- List them one by one and explain what they mean to your client.
- Let your client know that if ever they question something in the relationship that they have your permission to address it directly.
- Follow it up in writing with an email and ask them to save it.
- Hold yourself to these standards.
“The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives.” – Tony Robbins
As an example, my three Count-Ons are: first, you can count on me to be dependable. From the initial phone call through the presentation and the follow up phone call, I’ll do what I say and I’ll say what I do. And I’ll do it in a professional manner.
Second, you can count on me to be honest and ethical. Even when it’s not in my best interest, you’ll always count on getting the truth from me in all transactions and financial matters.
And third, you can count on me to do my best. I’ll never give you anything but the best I’ve got. Whatever your needs are for working with me, I’ll do everything in my power to see that they are met.
You can present these either personally, or representing key values your company has. If you choose to implement this as a team, decide together what the three values are and get everyone on the same page to ensure brand consistency.
Imagine the impression you make on your client when you start off with a conversation like this. What a way to stand out! But even more important than the words is the way you say them. Say this with conviction, from your heart.
By articulating these values up front, you managing your client’s expectations, you plant the seeds for them to notice as you perform and set yourself up to be accountable for a higher level of performance. As we all know, when goals are measured, you’re much more likely to accomplish them.
Create your own set of “Count-Ons” and make them part of who you are. Keep them posted somewhere as a reminder of who you are at your core and what you’ve promised your clients and catch yourself before they do. Try it with your next onboarding call and notice the reaction from your client.
“You don’t build a business, you build people and then people build the business.” – Zig Ziglar
The last and final step is the most important. Make sure you deliver after you’ve promised. The promise alone is impressive, it’s bold and confident, it cuts through the clutter, it gets you started off on the right foot, but if you don’t back it up with action, the whole thing will backfire on you.
Business and marketing today are all about relationships and more than anything, clients crave trust.