Strong client relationships are built on trust, and trust begins with being present in the moment and fully hearing the client's needs, context, situation, and history.
Relationships are the currency of business. As salespeople, it's our job is to leverage relationships to collaborate, strategize, and ultimately reach a solution that best fits our clients' goals. But being successful is about more than knowing a client's business, analyzing their needs, or having solutions ready at our fingertips. It's about understanding that how we 'show up' with this wealth of knowledge directly influences the direction of our ongoing relationships and interactions.
Whether a veteran account manager or a rookie, we all need to be mindful of how we communicate, especially with those who are critical to the success of our business. Here are 4 tips that I keep front of mind when engaging clients:
By taking a few mindful breaths before picking up the phone or entering the room, I become more focused, less anxious, and have a stronger ability to actively listen. It’s a simple—and yet critical—technique to support a relaxed and healthy voice and also helps to establish the level of energy that I plan to bring to the conversation.
Strong client relationships are built on trust, and trust begins with being present in the moment and fully hearing the client's needs, context, situation, and history. After being genuinely curious and asking strategic questions, I try to stop talking and listen with intent.
We've all heard the old saying, "You can't understand another person's experience until you've walked a mile in their shoes." I think most of us have good intentions—but when up against a deadline or a quota it's easy to skip the empathy and jump to problem solving—to check the box and move onto the next 'To Do'. To make a meaningful impact on the day-to-day lives of clients, I try to stop and consider what may be occurring on their end, take the time to ask the right questions, and above all, ensure they know they've been heard.
BE MINDFUL OF TONE
Whether meeting with a client in person or speaking with them on the phone, tone influences the energy in the conversation and impacts the way our clients perceive the dialog. Ensuring that tone is congruent with a message is critical, otherwise we risk coming across as disingenuous or even disrespectful. Prior to speaking with a client, I think through the purpose of the message (to excite, warn, etc.) and focus on my purpose during delivery. For instance when meeting someone for the first time, I find that if I try to be my best authentic self (with a smile, if appropriate), a tone of warmth and compassion is inherently applied to the words exiting my mouth.
At the end of the day, I remember this: In each interaction with a client, I have the opportunity to deposit emotional currency into the bank of our relationship, by being fully present and mindfully authentic.
What other aspects do you stay mindful of when speaking with clients? What are your most effective presence tactics?