A couple of weeks ago, we touched on one out of six dimensions of a trusted advisor. This
week, we are going to examine the importance of competency and how to improve your
competency in your business relationships.
Communicate Often and Consistently, In-Person and Otherwise
Keep in Regular Contact: Contact the client by phone regularly (e.g. at least once a week). Keep in face-to-face contact by visiting the client at his/her place of business as appropriate for the level of business with that client. Schedule these things as regularly planned calls and visits so that the client can then count on seeing you on a regular basis.
Hold Quarterly Meetings: Conduct a quarterly meeting. A regular schedule helps encourage an open working relationship that will work to avoid surprises at the renewal.
Be Available At A Predefined Time: Whenever possible preplan a regular (e.g., weekly) time to review account progress with your client. Let him/her know and be able to count on your availability say, every Wednesday at 10:00 am
Keep up to Date with Current Developments in Their Field
Sell: Position your company as an industry leader. Keep the client informed of your company's successes and impressive history. Powerful people like to be associated with powerful organizations.
Know your Product: Know your products better than anyone. Know their strengths, know how to position them against a competitor, know when you do not fit, and the client is better at taking his business elsewhere.
Subscribe: Subscribe to any publications or websites relating to your field of expertise. Relay current interesting news bits to the client or mention a new development that may be relevant to show him/her that you are on top of your game.
Respond to Quicker than Expected
Be Extra Responsive: Talk to the client about his/her expectations for responsiveness, and then exceed them. Keep a log of the dates and times that you speak with the client so that you can track the time between client requests and your responses.
Focus on Deliverables and Dates: Focus on key deliverables and deadlines for reviews, recommendations, and implementation. On major tasks or long-term projects, set up interim milestones/checkpoints.
Start with Yes: The moment your client says, "can you?" be prepared to say "yes."
Support Their Views and Judgments with Logic, Reason, and Data
Build a Business Case: Help your client help you; build the business case for your services and teach the client to deliver that business case.
Cross Reference Information: Substantiate findings and data by cross-referencing available industry information. Using your client's annual report is a good way to show your attention to their company while producing more detailed results.
Prioritize: Prioritize items and develop business cases for large recommendations. Understand what action items are on the "critical path" and which have "float."
Thoroughly Prepare Before any Interaction
Be One Step Ahead: Stay on your toes. If the client brings up an issue, give a response that shows you have already thought of it and are currently dealing with it. Never falter or show that you are not up to speed.
Clarify Accountability: Ensure that roles and responsibilities are clear. Outline the overall program objectives, the key tasks involved, who will do what, and by when. Include the client's role in this outline.
Forecast: Analyze possible objections to every proposal prior to presenting and come up with creative solutions to overcome their objections.
How do you prove your competency to your clients? Let us know down below! After that, follow us on Linkedin at “Encompass-CX” for more blog updates.