Flipping channels, I paused the remote long enough to see an initial interview with a sales guy and a new client on some reality show. The sales rep kept saying something to the effect that there are a lot of options - over and over and over. Followed by repeatedly asking the client if they liked any of the options set before them. I sat there thinking, "You need to give them something to react to".
Yes, I should have been relaxing and enjoying my down time but those few minutes of reality TV got me back into work mode in a blink. How so? It got me thinking about the conversations we've had internally regarding our processes and how we want our staff to engage clients. One of the things that I am a big proponent of is giving the client something to react to.
Clients come to us to leverage our experience, our knowledge and our energy. If we just give them a ton of options, how is it any different from them going it on their own? So, how to know what to give them to react to? I follow three steps: Chat - Confirm - Create.
We know we were contacted because there is a need for some sort of solution. If we take a few moments to chat about what brought this moment about, it gives the opportunity to put the client at ease, build a rapport and discuss some history. This is also where we gain some background that may reveal valuable information that the client may have forgotten about or thought not to be relevant.
Seems obvious but often forgotten, we will not assume to know the issue nor the solution. We take the information from our chat, combine that with what was initially provided and confirm our understanding. I don't know about you but more times than not, I find that the stated issue(s) are not quite the real issue. A favorite phrase of my dad's is: "What I hear you saying is …" This works really well during this step to confirm we are on the same page.
This is the fun part! We get to create solutions for the client to react using the background and confirmation of the true issue. Our experience, our understanding of their business and our solution building creativeness are key in this step. We make a suggestion and ask for feedback. We start by restating the issue being addressed and how the suggestion remedies it. When possible we offer three - that's my max - and provide a comparison to aid in the selection process.
I find that with this Chat - Confirm - Create approach, clients don't become overwhelmed, they feel I understand their issue and most importantly, they feel that together we will resolve the challenge.
...back to flipping channels
Image credit: orson / 123RF Stock Photo