Thanks to social media, everybody is “in touch” these days….aren’t they? Well, sort of.
Certainly there is now a burgeoning mass of communication – but it is conducted largely in one-way, remote broadcast mode. It is no substitute for meaningful dialogue and actual contact: this remains the best way to keep front-of-mind with clients and prospects so that business has a real chance to flow. So what to do – once you’ve “done” lunch or entertainment? Here are three ideas to help you keep properly engaged.
Get out there! It is difficult enough to uproot many professionals from their offices to visit clients. But, if this can be done, why not go a step further and get them to spend this time on the shop floor, experiencing what it is really like to be at the sharp end of the business? It is a point of policy for many service-orientated businesses that senior managers do this on a regular basis. Asking to go along for the day with them could prove an especially powerful relationship and knowledge-building pursuit.
Come and tell us like it is “We’re all so focused on assignments and delivering to deadlines that we rarely give ourselves the chance to look wider”. For professionals this can mean understanding what it is like to be in the client’s shoes. One walk for this particular talk is to get good clients to come and speak with the team about what it is like to be on the receiving end of your things. The results can be very productive: like the startling revelation that a one page board report is all that is required, rather than the 100 page ‘whopper’ which regularly hits their desk!
Matchmaking for bench marking This is about applying a bit of lateral thinking: looking beyond the narrowness of transactions at the key professional/technical or business processes that underpin the operations of client organisations. Clever professionals are always on the look-out for clients in these important areas who display excellence and those who are experiencing issues or problems. Why? Because if they are non-competing, one party can learn from the other – and as the matchmaker for this bench marking exercise you are positioned strongly as a trusted professional for both parties.
James Newberry runs People Scope, a consultancy, interim, training and coaching firm working with lawyers, accountants and other specialists to help them operate successfully outside of their comfort zones. http://www.peoplescope.com.