How To Be the Partner Your Clients Can’t Live Without
If you are a business that serves other businesses (B2B), someone’s vendor, it is even more critical that you deliver a world-class customer experience, otherwise, you are always in danger of being replaced. As you know, every company, including yours, constantly examines its budget and reviews expenses for the year. CEOs are always demanding that their leaders find ways to trim their costs and improve their bottom line. Therefore, you and your company are either: 1) a line item on the P&L that can be outsourced to the lowest bidder, or 2) a non-negotiable partner, about whom a key decision-maker will say, “I don’t care what we have spent with them; it doesn’t come close to the value we get in return. We are not switching.”
There’s a business metaphor called “The CEO Bomb Shelter”. In the event we were ever under attack, the CEO has a bomb shelter that can only hold three of his vendors/partners. He has to choose the three he couldn’t afford to lose if he had to start all over tomorrow. He doesn’t care about the rest. He knows he can replace those easily, probably more cheaply. When it comes to your clients, you need to ask yourself, would you be in the CEO’s bomb shelter?
How do you become a non-negotiable partner? I don’t care what you sell; there are dozens of companies that sell the same thing. The way to stand out is to know your clients’ business and industry better than they do. You need to understand what is keeping them up at night. You need to provide so much value that anytime they need to make an important decision, they think of you, even if what they are looking for is outside your area of expertise. They have to have the confidence that you will know someone who will know the answer. You need to be their most trusted advisor.
10 Ways To Be The Partner Your Clients Can’t Live Without:
- Love what you do. People can’t fake passion. Passionate professionals are magnets, and customers love to buy from people who have an incredible amount of positive energy for what they do and whom they do it for.
- Get to know your customers not only professionally but also personally. Know their FORD by making an emotional connection with them that eventually builds into an unbreakable relationship.
- Be as committed to the success of your customers as they are. That may mean you refer them to someone else and lose the sale.
- Don’t share how you can help them until you have completely understood what their goals and problems are. In any conversation, the client should talk at least 80 percent of the time.
- Make sure your clients never meet anyone smarter than you at what you do. Read every book, relevant article, and watch every video on your subject. Your learning never stops.
- Be honest and transparent. You are the expert, and it is your responsibility to advise your clients to do what is in their best interest, even when that may go against what they think they want.
- Educate versus Sell.
- Go ugly early—share bad news as soon as you can.
- Be a resource broker. Make the right connections and introductions.
- Your customer should not be able to imagine a world without you and your business in it.
Podcast I recommend
Founder of Shake Shack, restaurateur Danny Meyer was recently interviewed on the Tony Robbins Podcast about the restaurant empire he has built. I highly recommend listening to it. Meyer shares a lot of great customer service best practices. My favorites story he told was what his purpose is when he speaks to his new hires. Meyers compared his message to what a pilot says to all the passengers before taking off, “Our final destination is West Palm; if West Palm is not in your travel plans, now would be a good time to get off the plane.”
Great Interview Question
I recently heard author David Meerman Scott speak and loved an interview question he recommended companies use. “In a room of 1,000 people, what is the one thing you could confidently say you are better than anyone else at?”
*Related – The 3 Best Ways To Make Your Interview Process Ungameable
The Six Components of a Customer’s Experience
In order to create brand loyalty and Customer evangelists, you must operate at a high level in six distinct areas of business and constantly evaluate your company’s Customer experience across each category.
Quote of the week
“You do not merely want to be considered just the best of the best.
You want to be considered the only one who does what you do.”
Only 6 Spots Remain!
Only 6 Spots Left for the 2020 Customer Experience Executive Academy starting in January. Turn customer experience into your biggest competitive advantage.