Want Clients? Amaze Them

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A Toronto Morning

We as marketing bloggers talk a lot about strategy, the latest and greatest trends, and our personal way of thinking, all to attract customers. But perhaps the best way to attract clients is to build a reputation for amazing them.

This extends beyond strategic and tactical savoir faire to actual practice.

An attitude of service creates the word of mouth every brand wants, the kind that drives value and attracts prospects that want similar outcomes.

Here are some client service tips for consultancies seeking to develop winning reputations.

Get Dirty

In an era of micro-celebrity consultants, there sure seem to be a lot of divas out there that avoid real work.

Don’t be a diva. Arrogance about your roll in the larger marketing or consulting world doesn’t produce results.

You’re resting on past experiences when someone needs you to create a new one.

The reputation got the job, now roll up your sleeves and just do it. Get dirty and do the work.

Bring Home the Bacon

Hickory Smoked Bacon
Image by moknits

You also promised results, so bring home the bacon. That means produce.

By far, this is the biggest complaint I hear about consultants, that they failed to deliver.

Bust your head open to make it happen.

If you can’t, look at why, and own it. Do what you must to rectify the situation. Your client needs to know that you did everything humanly possible to fulfill your word.

Nip at Their Heels

How bad is it if a client has to follow up with you on deliverables?

Real bad, especially if it happens frequently.

They hired you to produce, and now they have to chase you?

You should be nipping at their heels with reports, progress reports, suggestions and hopefully, the bacon you promised. Be proactive.

Deliver On Time All the Time

Deliverables are promised. You’re late, and while perhaps forgiving with a good result, your client’s overall experience lessens. Trust weakens.

But when you deliver on time, your client feels they made the correct choice, that their trust was well invested.

Bend over backwards to make deadlines!

What would you add?

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  • http://www.flybluekite.com Laura Click

    Fantastics advice, Geoff. I think we can all learn from these. I think so many folks focus on winning the business that they forget to take care of the clients once they get them.

    One I would add, but goes along with #2 is to quit making excuses. Clients don’t want to hear why you were late, why you didn’t get results or why you weren’t available. Be responsible for your actions. Period.

    • geofflivingston

      I totally agree with that. I don’t want an excuse, no business owner/client does either! Best to give them a situation status, your plan of attack, and reboot from there.

  • http://twitter.com/KDillabough Kaarina Dillabough

    I like the word amazing, as well as being remarkable, which means someone will remark upon you, without your asking. When we create remarkable, amazing experiences for the people we connect with (friends, associates, colleagues and of course customers!), we become memorable. And when the want or need arises, it’s the recipient’s experience of us that will resonate more clearly than what we have to offer. After all, business is all about people to people. I say bend over backwards to add to someone else’s day, every day. Cheers! Kaarina

    • geofflivingston

      Remarkable is a pretty amazing word, too. I think that’s accurate. We want people to refer us, and to get that referral we must be distinguishable in the marketplace. Best way to do that is to deliver in actual experiences…

  • http://joshuawilner.com/ Josh

    I like this and would add would be to stress communication. When our clients feel like you have answered questions and are easily accessible it helps build trust and security.

    It also avoids questions down the road because they know what to expect.

    • geofflivingston

      Absolutely. Nothing worse then dead space when you call a consultant. You want to know what’s going on.

  • colinstorm

    Applicable everywhere someone is being hired to do anything. Love this.

    • geofflivingston

      True dat! How’s the family doing?

      • colinstorm

        Family is doing great, thanks! Still adjusting to the news that we are going from a family of 4 to one of 6, but we’ll get there! :)

  • http://gearboxmagazine.com/ Brian Driggs

    Some big simplicity right here. Well said, Geoff.

    1. Talk is cheap. Do the work.
    2. Prove the work. ROI = Revenue less cost. Nothing less.
    3. Call your customer before you customer has to call you.
    4. We are what we do. Be true to your word. Keep your promises.

    Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt. That’s the first thing they teach you.

    • geofflivingston

      I should hire you as an editor! And talk is so cheap in this space. It’s disappointing really.

      Hope you had a great weekend, Brian. Always a pleasure to see you, sir!

      • http://gearboxmagazine.com/ Brian Driggs

        I am but a conversation agent in training, sir. I have my virtual mentors. I’m sure you’ve met them in person. :)

        Weekend was great. Much work was done.

  • http://twitter.com/FitOldDog Kevin Morgan

    Make the hard work play, and the play hard work, never give up, don’t listen to Nay sayers, respect the Pito Principal, live your passion, listen to your customer. But then. What do I know, I’m just starting out. -k (FitOldDog)

    • http://twitter.com/geoffliving Geoff Livingston

      LOL< a good work ethic to live by. Thanks for gracing us today with a reminder to play!

  • Alison Thomson

    What would I add? Deliver all of the above with a smile. Make your client feel good about doing business with you.

    • http://twitter.com/geoffliving Geoff Livingston

      This is the one area I struggle with, but as time has worn on, I realize it is a critical fifth component. Great add!

  • http://twitter.com/bobbiklein Bobbi Klein

    I would add. Go above and beyond on projects. Some companies/ clients do not know the plethora of opportunities out there especially in marketing. Having the “Wow” factor makes people keep coming back.

    • http://twitter.com/geoffliving Geoff Livingston

      Yes, another good addition. Deliver beyond expectations is a great way to Wow people. Thank you, Bobbi!

  • http://www.polarisprinc.com/blog Shelley Pringle

    Great suggestions, Geoff. All good reminders that we are in the service business.

    I am inspired by “Life’s Little Instruction Book” by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. If you’re not familiar with the book it is a collection of fatherly advice written for Brown’s son Adam as he leaves for his first year of college. Brown wanted to pass on “a few observations and words of counsel” to help Adam lead a successful and purposeful life.

    There are many great customer services tips in the book such as:

    - Admit mistakes
    - Swing for the fence
    - Be open to new ideas
    - Be a leader
    - Remember names

    And many, many more.

    • http://twitter.com/geoffliving Geoff Livingston

      Wow, that book sounds awesome. I should totally get it. Thanks for these insights, Shelley.

  • http://bigleapcreative.com/ Lisa Gerber

    I often lament not having any big agency experience but in this area, having spent most of my career on the corporate side, I know exactly how I want to treat my clients. I had more than a few frustrating experiences and I can look back now and see that as a valuable learning experience.

    I’d add: Do everything in your power to make the client look good. They’ll be sure and go to bat for you if needed.

    • http://twitter.com/geoffliving Geoff Livingston

      Great addition. Clients want to feel like they made the right choice!

      Big agency experience gave me three pieces of knowledge: How to hire interns, how to sell a senior team and pull a bait and switch, and how to have nasty politics amongst big wigs. Maybe it was just my agency, but each time I get close to one of these big boys, I am underwhelmed. Edelman is generally the exception from my vantage point.

      I also think that like you my past roles on the inside help me become a better consultant. In my current life as a consultant, I am often asked to hire and manage other consultants on behalf of the client, which is very meta of course. And it shows me a lot, too, a reminder. Great to hear from you, Lisa!

  • http://twitter.com/NoMeatballs Amy

    1. Marketing is not one-size fits all. Look to the past for things that worked, but give each client the courtesy of customizing a solution that works for their unique circumstance and goals.
    2. Never forget: at the end of the day clients are in the business of business. Sure, they want people to like their brand, but without solutions that directly lend themselves to the bottom-line, there’s no brand for people to connect with.

    3. Adjust, adjust, adjust! Plowing ahead with a strategy without pausing to evaluate success, goals and measurables is like running a marathon when you’re clueless where to find the finish line. Set milestones. Take a moment to see where you are, what’s working and what could be better. Form a new plan. Move on. Rinse and repeat.

    • http://twitter.com/geoffliving Geoff Livingston

      Some great points here. Can’t disagree with any of them, but particularly like points 1 and 2. Thanks for coming by and adding your experience, Amy!

  • http://twitter.com/CarolLynnRivera Carol Lynn Rivera

    Succinct and brutally true!

    I second what Josh said – access. You need to be available to your client, not just by delivering on your deadlines but by answering those phone calls and emails in between. And they need YOU, not your PA or “the designer” or whatever other person is there.

    • http://twitter.com/geoffliving Geoff Livingston

      Good point. I struggle with this personally. I am craptastic about phone time. Emails, much better, phone time, not so much.

  • http://MyMarketingCompass.com/ Billy Delaney

    I would add that if you find out what they want, and it is not what you think it is, and can deliver that to them. You will amaze them enough. Process is never enough, results that the process deliver are all that is wanted. If you don’t know what they want, all the effort, head busting, and producing you do, matters not, if it doesn’t get them what they want.

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