Client work can be very stressful. With tight budgets, overworked team members, some scope creep, etc., circumstances can be awful.
It makes it hard not to lose sight of what’s essential – FOR YOUR CLIENT!
We all juggle opportunities and responsibilities.
And there are firms and partners out there which frequently have a leg up.
Despite sophisticated procurement processes, committee decisions – you name them. But how can that be, one keeps pondering if not wondering?
It’s not fair, is it?
I get it. I used to be there myself.
Yet let me share a little story here.
The client’s voice
Many moons ago, my then firm was in the contest for a major transformation program at a large European industrial company.
And we were not to be outdone by any of our competitors. We decided to pull all the stops. A big pitch, including video testimonials of a handful of marque clients, was what we went for.
It was to be about clients where partners of my firm had claimed to have done “stellar” transformation work.
As a result, I found Jill, a TV journalist, a cameraman, and myself heading across Europe.
Our mission was to distill what made my firm special.
Multi-year clients – there should be something great to report, shouldn’t it?
The power of simply “asking”
Frankly, I was apprehensive about it, wondering how much of the partners’ claims, assertively induced by our European managing partner, would hold water?
At the very first client, a global automotive OEM, after the preliminaries of about 15 minutes, Jill popped the central question to the executive:
“So, Mike, you have been working with the firm for more than two years now. That’s a long stretch.”
“What makes them so special?”
I sat up in my seat and thought, “and now it comes!”
Mike pondered the question for a moment and then started to smile.
What clients really like – today and in future
“You know what, Jill, what we absolutely love about them?” Jill looked quizzically at Mike.
“They’re thinking our thoughts. More so, they appreciate our challenges. And they look at our business through a set of independent fresh eyes.
In addition, they bring us ideas on how we could make it better.
And it’s all untriggered, unexpected. Frequently, they just show up, alert us, present ideas on how they see what’s happening – and all without a bill.
We just love them!”
When was the last time you did something unexpected for your client?