Simply, it is the most important concern affecting consultants – the client expects to be lead. Let me repeat myself; your client or customer expects to be lead.
She/he is receiving so many market signals that it is difficult to make sense of all the traffic and noise. Questions like:
- Where should I be investing my marketing and advertising dollars for the best return?
- How can I cut costs and still maintain my market share and sustainability?
- How can I improve the quality of the leads on which my sales people need to focus?
- What are we doing that works, and what needs to be added or adjusted?
Your clients look to you for leadership. Lead them.
Clients are receiving so many market signals that it is difficult to make sense of all the traffic and noise. This digital revolution is not going away, and in fact, it is gaining momentum. The small business is competing on a global stage, and the playing field is growing more level with each passing day. The role of leadership is one that cannot be marginalized, your client is depending on you to advise, counsel, befriend and show sincere concern for their betterment, as that is the reason for which you were hired.
Clients expect to be lead for a number of reasons, so leadership must become close to their clients in a way that was perhaps unheard of in decades past. The days of blasting out advertising and marketing strategies and tactics are gone, and have been replaced by the new model of inbound or internet marketing. Clients are searching online for nearly everything, so if, and when, they find you, your team had better be ready to greet them with every courtesy. The cost of client acquisition is nearly 80% more than that of maintaining a long-term client. The most cost effective client is an existing client. They need nurturing, care, advice and attention more so than ever before. They may not know it, but your client is expecting leadership at every turn.
Several client-centric behaviors must be present to be successful in maintaining and growing your clientele. It is up to leadership to instill the leadership ownership to each member of the company, so that single-minded purpose results in client satisfaction.
Adapt and embrace. Embracing the client’s needs through every step of the lead identification, lead nurturing and close, are instrumental in growing the sustainability of clients in general. Adaptability lends itself toward that action.
Analytics in real-time. Real-time application of resources drives the relationship. Clients need focus and attention, and the use of analytics to monitor, advise and adjust the marketing efforts of said company is how clients remain clients. Data systems must be cohesive to the group, accessible by anyone involved in the acquisition, nurturing or ongoing monitoring of the client so that when they call, there is information readily available as a response.
Cross-trained staff. The accessibility of information alone is not sufficient, however, the data mining, analysis and resulting observations must be “ready on the lips” for immediate reply to a client’s request. The manager is not in his office, is not a satisfactory response any longer. The competition is too fierce, and the client too costly to replace.
Single-purposed mentality. The alignment of a team is not always easy, and therefore significant effort must be placed on this area above all. With each team member marching lock step toward the common mission, the client will benefit. This mentality cannot be demanded, rather the encouragement of experiments toward reaching the afore-stated outcomes. When the leadership truly believes that the Client is King (or Queen) and that nothing else matters, the transmission of that philosophy shapes the entire organization over time. Believing is seeing.
Encourage and support. These are critical when mistakes happen, regardless of how hard we try. Leadership must encourage not only experimentation, but also creative displays of problem solving. Not every attempt will turn out right, so supporting the effort without chastisement of the negative outcome assures a team loyalty that is hard to come by.
Clients expect to be lead through your everyday actions and activities. Their world is full of uncertainties, and like most, is sometimes dazed by the number of signals that they are receiving from those around them. It is your job to lead them on the path to success, peace of mind and security.
As the person(s) they have selected with who to do business, lead them.