When a client becomes a friend
When a client becomes a friend. At first we think this is wonderful. Look where this business relationship is taking us. And it all seems hunky dory.
You chat about other things. Its’ all very relaxed, comfortable, informal. You feel great. They confide in you. You get inside information even. It all seems like it’s too good to be true.
Well, actually it is. If it’s been a while since you’ve had a ‘commercial conversation’ then the client starts to forget why they are enlisting your company’s services. They see you as a friend, not as someone who is helping their business.
Worst than this, you both don’t realise it. You think that the client is solid. Loyal.
Then it happens, they get asked by a superior why their organisation is buying from you and they can’t remember the key reasons. They have forgotten the USP. They can’t remember how you are both aligned.
In steps your competitor going in coming up with sexy new ideas of how they can look after that clients business.
They realise it’s been a while since you’ve done that. They can feel uncomfortable asking for you to remind them on why they are buying from you.
How to address this
‘Anchor’ for a commercial conversation.
That means, make it obvious that for a while we are talking about your business Mr/Mrs Client and anchoring could be by going somewhere different to have that commercial conversation. Or do it with your hands doing speech marks.
Something like ‘Great to see you, I want to find out how your holiday was, how your mum is doing and then for 15 minutes have a commercial conversation as there some bits I would like to discuss where our company ‘x’ can assist your company’
Of course, it’s not just what you say it’s how you say it. Say it confidently and with a smile. Say it like you do it all the time with key clients.
As with all the thoughts we share, if these are not your words, find others, find something where you clearly let them know that for 15 minutes you need to focus on business.
And for 15 minutes you do nothing apart from ask intelligent questions and uncover their needs. No jumping in and selling,. No jumping to conclusions. A minimum of 15 minutes of you finding out what they are doing and planning on doing.
It’s ensuring that its clear you are there for a commercial reason and that reason is to ensure you help their business.