Networking: How Do You Know If Your Client Is Statisfied?
“I can’t believe you’re calling me right now, I was just shopping for your replacement.”
I recently took the time to reflect on the more notable moments of the year that just passed and began implementing a new approach in terms of the way I handle networking and by doing so, I came to a halting realization. I don’t have any connection with any of our clients. Being part of the sales process, most of the communication I have with the client takes place before the project even starts. We talk just about every day. But once the project gets sent to the development floor and the project managers and developers step in, I disconnect.
What I convinced myself was that if I don’t hear from the client, then it must mean that everything is going well. We’ve had our time together, we’re connected on LinkedIn and that’s enough. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
If I take a look back on my own experience with a business owner or manager of a service that I’m using that’s made the time to keep a connection with me, I won’t hesitate about picking up the phone and letting them know that something isn’t going according to plan. But if I don’t have that connection, my mentality is to just finish the project, pay my bill, and never use them again.
Habits are in their own way a comfortable trap. I had convinced myself that reaching out to a client is going to cause an inconvenience to them. That I’m intruding on their time and bothering them. Because of this, I developed the habit of making excuses to keep myself from just picking up the phone.
As an example, I would go as far as planning to call a client Monday morning. But when the day came, I’d start coming up with all sorts of reasons to put the call off for another day. It’s the beginning of the week, he’s probably really busy, I don’t want to bug him, I’ll just call him on Wednesday instead. Then when Wednesday rolls around, I’d get that familiar feeling of being intrusive again so I created new reasons to put the call off. There’s always a new excuse to not pick up the phone and contact that client.
If I could offer you one advice, Take the initiative to step out of your comfort zone. Since I made the decision to overcome that idea of intrusiveness and made it my unwavering goal to strengthen the connection I have with my clients by keeping regular contact with them, not a single client told me that they were too busy for me. It’s really as simple as sending an inital e-mail asking them when it would be ideal for them to have a conversation with me, because I’m curious about how things are going. Reaching out to clients benefits everyone because you can make sure they’re happy and they can feel like someone cares about their satisfaction.
You would be surprised by how many opportunities you’re missing out on by not making that extra effort. Recently, I reached out and called one of our clients that I had disconnected with at the start of his project and he said “I can’t believe you’re calling me right now, I was just shopping for your replacement.” This was an obvious case of lack of connection. He didn’t have a relationship with a manager or owner, so he didn’t feel like he could call and let anyone know that he was unsatisfied. He wasn’t happy, so he was just going to pay his bill and find someone else to work with. But because I now had him on the phone, asking him to elaborate, he was able to give me his reasons why things weren’t going well for him and what wasn’t working and I was actually able to solve his problems. If I had continued to come up with excuses to put off that phone call, we would have lost him as a client.