‘I have a problem’ usually implies ‘and I want it solved now’.
Whether it is a client looking for people to change their behavior, to help them with fundraising or to make a better sale.”
They are like your kids which come ask you to help them solving a math problem. All they want is basically a solution. And they want it fast, because they have to hand in their homework by tomorrow.
How many of us have serviced a client by going for immediate satisfaction rather than trying to help him solve his problem by focussing on what’s in the future rather than what is urgent right now?
Is your strategic approach just dealing with the current problem or are you building something sustainable here?
I wonder, how many of you are willing to persist in offering longterm solutions? And how many of our clients are willing to listen to a solution which seems to go beyond offering an instant solution?
How many don’t just throw their problems on the table and sit back, pointing out that from now on that you own these problems now, from now on it’s all up to you to solve them?
How many clients are willing to say: teach me, coach me? How many clients say: let’s solve this together? And how many of us say: we cannot solve this on our own, we need you to help us solving your problem?
The latter simply doesn’t sound right according to the customer-is-king philosophy. If the king asks you something, you don’t have the king solve his problems. You serve him. No, you don’t serve him. You please him by making him think you serve him. But do you, really?
This approach is based on fear rather than on mutual respect. And although lots of companies claim respect to be one of their core values, respect is exactly what lacks in their client-relationships.
What can we do to solve this?
Listen and appreciate. Put the problem physically in the middle. Don’t just take notes and leave. But listen, question your client for ideas, talk about responsibilities and talk about it as an opportunity, as an asset.
It’s not about muscling up or bullying your client. Although it takes more courage to say: you and I will get to this later.
Yet, have faith, the effort will pay off in the end. If you persist, you will be able to prove you’re point. That’s when you’ll have a case, that’s when you’ll have a real life example to prove you’re right. That’s when you’ll have some real arguments to convince your other clients.
It might be tough to take the first hurdle, but you’ll get there.
Soon your portfolio will offer you the sense of control which is basically what your clients are looking for. It will also offer you insight into real strategies, not into fast-pleasing-tactics.