What Grandparents Can Teach You About Client Management

February 16th, 2012 by

Let’s pretend you’re at a birthday party for a one-year old. There are lots of people chatting, a few kids toddling around, and a parent or two pulling their hair out. There’s also a grandparent or two in the group. And if you’re a parent, they’re the ones you have to watch out for.

A Grandparents’ Birthday Party Checklist

Feeding the kids candy and cake? Check.
Tossing them on the bed and teaching them how to get the highest jump? Check.
Gifting them the most annoyingly loud and flashy toy ever invented? Check.

Welcome to relationship building grandpa-style.

Grandparents get limited time with their grandchildren so they make it count. When the kids are over, grandma and grandpa don’t spend the time washing laundry or taking the car to get the oil changed. They drop everything and focus entirely on their grandkids. The errands can wait.

To build stronger relationships with your clients, give them your full attention. When you are with your client put the smartphone away. Don’t makes notes about that email that you really need to get out and don’t pick at the food from lunch that dripped onto your shirt. Devote all of that energy to your client. Listen to what they are telling you and what they aren’t telling you. You only get a limited amount of time to wow your client, so when you have an audience with them make it count.

When I was 10 years old “Nan” called my mom to ask if I could spend the day at her house with some cousins who were visiting from out of town. My mom said no because I had to help rake the leaves in the yard (my parents live on an acre with lots of trees). Nan loaded the out-of-towners into her car and drove over to our house. Everyone pitched in, the leaves were raked in record time, and I spent the rest of the day with my cousins. Nan was not about to tell my cousins no, so she found a way to make it happen.

When your client calls you asking for something that sounds impossible, you first reaction is probably going to be a head smack and a list of reasons why their request is crazy. Next time, instead of ticking off reasons their request can’t happen, jot down what you would need to do to make it happen. Then figure out a way to make it work. Nan never says no, and neither should you.

I overheard a father and son talking about a grandchild one time. It went something like this:

Parent: Dad, he’s not allowed to have that.
Grandparent: I know.
Parent: Then why did you give it to him.
Grandparent: Because it made him happy.

And there you have it. Your job is to make your client happy. It’s easy to say and hard to do, but that’s what it all comes down to.

The next time you pick up your phone and your client is on the other end of the line,  proceed like a grandparent would and you’ll be the one your competitors have to watch out for.

Give them your full attention. Check.
Never say no. Check
Make them happy. Check.

What has a business done to make you happy?  Let us know in the comments.

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