New clients may come to you or your company, based on your reputation. They will stay with you and, more importantly, return to you based on the experience that was had in working with you. That means that it will be the personal experience had with the people on your team that will bring them back.
Business is Personal. We’ve said it before, and it cannot be overstated.
Knowing this; the wisest approach to the development of client relationships is keeping in mind the fact that longevity with the client will be a direct result of the work delivered and the people delivering that work.
So, set them up to succeed.
Show off all your people; give your client the opportunity to know who and why each person is on your team, to be impressed at the wealth of skill, talent and experience you have accumulated and make available to your clients…
Don’t hide them behind a screen of corporate anonymity.
When we bring a new talent onto a team, we take care and effort to introduce that person to the rest of the team along with the qualities, traits, talents and accomplishments that brought that person on board.
Rather than a simple, “This is Tom, our new Art Director…” we augment that introduction with, “…you gotta spend time with this guy; he’s done amazing stuff. He publishes his own cartoon strip, writes and performs music, surfs like a demon and has cured cancer, twice! Get to know him and welcome him to our team.”
This serves two, primary purposes.
- One: this gives the rest of the team a context within which to get to know the new person, to ask questions and discover mutual interests. In other words, to Launch the Bonding…it makes this New Guy or Gal more of a person from the start.
- Two: this also serves to render the rest of the team conversant in the qualifications of that individual; what unique things that person brings to the table to augment the team.
Each team member should be able to authentically and enthusiastically give testimony as to the uniqueness of each of the rest of the team.
Which brings us to why this same practice is something we ought do when bringing or sending a team into a project or client.
Sending or bringing along a team under the banner of your company is one thing; impressive at the outset but with an effect that ultimately dissipates and even disappears if your people aren’t introduced as highly valuable in the right of each one. Blow your clients away at the quality of the team you have gathered for this project; impress them at your acumen for finding and hiring good people and let your client know what makes each so fantastic.
These are the people who, working with you, for you or under your banner, make you look good. Capitalize on that.
F’rinstance; rather than, “This is Sheila, the Project Coordinator for your project…” Perhaps, “Client, meet Sheila; she has a few years of producing live television under her belt, has worked in China and Australia and kicked some *ss in the process. She is one of the most organized people I’ve ever found and we’re lucky to have her. She’ll be Project Coordinator on your project…at least, until we promote her…”
This approach will give your client more confidence in work, opinion or suggestion that comes from Sheila. It will engender trust in her and in your entire team.
This approach will unfailingly communicate to your team that they are trusted.
Further, as work is delivered, as components and projects come online, credit those who actually do the work. Let your client know who wrote the script, who drew the schematic, who created the amazing artwork, who discovered the wrong bolt was specified for the rocket launcher. Credit your people and you will look even better; tuck that individual contribution behind the impersonal banner of the company in some digest or unattributed document and nobody gains…
…and the opportunity is missed for acknowledgement, morale boosting and a deepening of the personal relationship.
If you present and treat your teams as no more than a roster of titles, they will be seen as no more than that; virtually interchangeable. Give them context, give them credibility, empower them to act in your stead when you are not available and this will only grow your reputation for astuteness and clarity.
“IMHO” the handy eBook on methodologies and techniques for the creation of compelling experience is a free download for Apple iOS and OS from iTunes or the iBook store.