Knowledge IS power and profits.
Do you know how valuable you are to your clients? Have you asked? Do they see you as an extension of their business or as just a vendor? An fear of asking will lead us to complacency and a false sense of security. We can only be truly successful and get our business and career to higher and more profitable ground if we know the answer to this question or at the very least are not afraid to address it. I like to ask this simple question in my workshops “how do your clients see you as a providing value?” It’s an open ended question (questions one cannot answer with just a “yes” or a “no”) and it’s designed to provide for a wide array of answers. Everyone I ask answers somewhat differently, but I rarely got the sense that anyone was truly aware of how valuable – and hence vulnerable – they were with any client at any time. A bit scary for anyone who depends on others as we all do. Is it possible to be indispensable to a client? Nope. The last eight years have taught a very valuable and painful lesson to us all. It doesn’t mean it would be easy, but nothing is forever and nothing is permanent.
That’s being said, there are four essential areas to focus on NOW do to ensure your standing is as stable and secure as possible in the eyes and hearts of our clients.
- It’s always about the client and their clients. Every conversation should really be about their business and how what they do helps to maketheir clients be successful. In other words, it’s not about you. This is a bedrock principle of networking. The more you engage your clients about their business and listen to how to you play a key role in that, the more you will be able to add value because you “get them”.
- Make sure you know how your clients make money.I don’t just mean the basics, but how they actually determine if they are doing well or not and if they are making or losing money. Wouldn’t you want to know how your clients are doing so you can adjust your service or product to make sure that you are enabling them to be successful?
- Find out how your clients’clients see them. How valuable could you be if you could speak to your clients from their clients’ viewpoint? This takes your business conversation to a new level and adds you in as part of ongoing conversations. I once had a client who listed me as a member of his strategic plan because I knew the business and how his customers saw it! I actually had some deliverables for the plan and was thrilled to be in the “in” crowd. I still have him as a client, and he sees me as a long-term colleague of his team.
- Get a grasp on your clients’ competitors.It’s one thing to know who your competitors are, and it’s an entirely different matter to be able to speak intelligently and with authority on your clients’ competition. Don’t be disparaging. Take the high road and treat their competitors with respect.
So what do we have here? Four areas that mean you are having valuable business conversations with your clients and at the same time you are demonstrating your vulnerability. Four things you can do that send the message to your clients that you are more than a “vendor”. Finally, four things you can do to raise your level of value and decrease your level of anxiety. I want to encourage you to ask yourself “am I asking and challenging myself to provide value every day”? Do you add energy to the room? If you take the challenge, then take it to your client and start having incredible conversations that make you a real partner and not just a vendor.
How to Book Todd to Keynote at Your Next Meeting:
Todd Cohen, CSP is an accomplished and sought after international keynote speaker, sales culture expert and author of Everyone’s in Sales and Everyone’s in Sales; STOP Apologizing. Todd’s dynamic and motivational presentations are based on the foundation that regardless of career path or position, everyone is a salesperson. For more information or to book Todd Cohen for your next meeting please visit www.ToddCohen.com or call 866-515-9445 x 100.