If I could invent a mind-reading machine that tells me what clients want, I’d sell it on Amazon and be the richest person alive, but also plunge the world in some chaotic mess because everyone will be reading everyone, clients or not.
Through the 11 years communicating with clients, I haven’t found that magic formulae to read their minds, but I’d like to share some points on how you can build better client communications.
1) SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE
If they are in real estate and you’re in marketing, use real estate terminology to help them understand better. Don’t use marketing terms on them because you will leave them confused and dazed, and that leaves a bad impression on you. Simplest way is to just keep language simple. Don’t use bombastic vernacular terminology that astounds and astonishes but leaves audiences antagonised. Exactly.
2) START WITH A QUESTION
Don’t start with statements, instead ask your client questions so that you can get to know exactly what they want to do, how they want to do it, when they want it done, where they want to place it, who is going to be doing it, and the most important question is why they want to do it. Many times we assume what clients want and we assume we know better than them, but if you assume, you only make an ass out of u and me.
3) CLARIFY WHAT WAS SAID
Let’s continue along the lines of being an ass, u and me. After we ask the questions, we cannot assume that we interpreted the answers clients gave correctly. Always confirm and make sure that what they said, is exactly what you heard, and nothing in between. Don’t be shy to keep asking, even if the client might become impatient, because better to have
4) ACKNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTAND
Clarification has been done, and by acknowledging what your client was saying, you build a relationship and they feel appreciated and understood. This helps to showcase amazing customer service on your end and they see that you’re paying attention. This also helps to subtract options so that it makes the decision making process so fking simple for clients that they’d actual want to give you an answer. *insert hallelujah soundtrack here*
5) AM I THE RIGHT PERSON?
Now that you actually genuinely understand what exactly your client wants to achieve, ask yourself the question “am I THE ONE”. If you aren’t the right person to execute or create, then you are saving yourself and your client a whole lot of pain, time-loss, frustration, and anger. Really. Instead, refer someone else whom you think is the best collaborator for the project so that you can help your client achieve what they want. Now why the hell would you give a paying client away?
6) GIVE TRUTH
Transparency build trust. Opaqueness builds doubt. When you are honest and referring your client to another person, they see you in a different light. They actually trust you more because your intentions are good and agenda is clear; you want to help your client no matter what. There have been times where my clients call me crazy for referring someone else to service them, but I honestly don’t see it as a negative thing, because they will remember me positively.
7) WAIT OUT THE LONG GAME.
Yes you may have given your client away, for now. But be patient and know that your actions are building a stronger relationship in the long run because whenever your client meets a snag, they will actually come to you for advice. As you continue to have their best intentions in mind, eventually they will come back to you for other work.
8) BE REALZ
With a ‘z’. Clients can tell when you are faking it just to further your own agenda, which is to eventually get paid to do work. Have empathy, stop looking inwards at yourself and start focusing outwards on your client and what they want to achieve, because then you will become genuine, authentic, and champion your clients success because their success, will eventually be your success.
Now this list isn’t exhaustive and it’s certainly not black magic. Remember, there really is no shortcut to being an awesome communicator and negotiator.
But if you invent that mind-reader though….drop me a private message, I’ll be your first customer!
Article Written By Kyra Coleen, Digital Marketer, CVP Group