BY: Tara L. Grays
These days, there’s so much competing for our time and attention. Between our personal and professional lives – not to mention the sliver of “me” time that you (hopefully) allow yourself – the end of the day is frequently met with a feeling of exhaustion. Needless to say, our time, and that of our clients, is a precious commodity. So how are you breaking through the noise to get – and hold – their attention?
Be the Expert
Although you might not feel like an expert, it’s important to remember that, in the eyes of your clients, you are! They work with you because you have the answers and abilities to help them solve problems and improve their own positions. You can’t be afraid to share that knowledge! Write articles, offer up solutions to questions on public forums, share things on social media that you agree or disagree with and why, or even spend time volunteering/mentoring in your industry. Making your wealth of knowledge easy to tap into will help current and prospective clients alike recognize you as a go-to resource in your field.
Nobody finds value in yes-men. By simply telling clients what they want to hear, rather than giving them honest (and however painful) insight, you’ll eventually lose existing business, miss out on potential opportunities, and cultivate a reputation as a charlatan. It’s inevitable.
Not everything you have to offer will be well received by your audience, but by saying it truthfully and from a place of empathy, you’ll rightly be perceived as someone genuinely invested in others’ success. When they need help, your clients will know that you can be relied on not to push them into something just because you stand to gain. Being genuine ultimately means putting their needs above your own.
(You Guessed It…) Listen!
This may be obvious, but if you really want to get your clients’ attention – and become indispensable to them -- there’s no better way than to listen. Sometimes, they will just need a sounding board, a person to whom they can vent. Being attentive and providing them the opportunity to “bend your ear” shows that you care and demonstrates that you’re invested in the relationship.
The same thing holds true for your network, too: If your contacts, prospects, centers of influence reach out to you for any reason, take the time to listen to what they have to say. Doing so will yield untold dividends down the line.
Be Available & Consistent
Put simply, every client wants to feel as though they’re your number-one priority – that no one is as important to you as they are. The best – and, arguably, most challenging – way to accomplish this is to prioritize making yourself available to them. If everyone were able to accomplish all they needed to during standard working hours, the world would be a much less stressful place. The reality is, business doesn’t stop the moment you leave the office.
Be the person that takes the time to answer ALL the questions – maybe even answer them a few times. Be responsive to messages and emails, and in a timely manner. If they are coming to you with questions, you will likely be the person they send others to for questions as well. This is perhaps the best way to build word-of-mouth recognition for yourself.
Taken individually, this list comprises seemingly self-evident strategies required for success in any client-facing role. Done collectively, though, this advice represents a powerful road map for you to grow your book of business, build your own personal brand, and make sure that, when you speak, your clients listen.