With Halloween approaching it’s easy (and fun) to get caught up in the excitement. Just don’t scare customers away by letting your holiday enthusiasm carry over into your work.
Here are a few ways you might be spooking your clients, and tips on keeping your cool:
Don’t over-research your prospects. Just make sure you know enough about them to show you’re interested.
While you should research a new client’s company—market position, branding and potential needs—to be fully prepared for meetings, there is such a thing as too much information. In his blog post “How Much Research You Should Do On a Prospect” staffing expert Tom Erb says you should, on average, research a company/person for 30 minutes. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets allow you the luxury of getting to know the person you are interacting with, but knowing too much can be a turn off.
Imagine meeting someone for the first time, only to discover that they know your spouse’s name, where you went to college, and what part of town you live in. It would undoubtedly make you a little uncomfortable. Part of building a relationship is learning about a person and relating to them, but knowing too much beforehand can spook your prospect and put them on guard.
Instead of being creepy, you might start with something like, “In looking at your website, it appears you’re trying to target millennials,” rather than, “I saw on your Instagram feed that you recently vacationed in Mexico.”
Dressing Up As a Chameleon
Speak up and share your expertise whenever necessary. You’re getting paid to do it; don’t be shy.
Right out of the gate, demonstrate your company’s brand and value (without being pushy, of course). That way, if you need to disagree with your client’ direction, you’ll have already established yourself as your own entity, not as a puppet. If, on the other hand, you try to please a client by saying yes to everything and not showing that you can help them succeed, they may wonder why they hired you in the first place.
Your clients want to hear your voice—to have your insights laid out on the table. If you agree with everything they say without bringing up an alternative solution—at least once in awhile—it will just demonstrate a lack of strategic thinking. If you must refuse a client’s request, show them why and then bring other ideas forward to benefit both their organization (and yours).
Don’t Promise a Jumbo Candy Bar And Give Out a Mini
Over-promising and under-delivering is probably the number-one relationship destroyer out there. It will scare your clients into believing you don’t stand behind your word, and that you don’t have their best interests in mind.
Much research has shown that the foundation to any successful relationship is trust. If you go back on what you say and don’t give a client what they want—or at least a good explanation why things have changed—that trust is as good as gone.
Avoid falling victim to the pitfalls above, and you’ll be on your way to building solid business relationships.