I was giving a speech to the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce last year to small business owners, and a client came to co-present with me. The focus of the talk was Driving Customer Retention and Growth, and I was there to talk strategy, and my client talked about how his organization implemented that strategy – how it worked.
After the meeting, many of those in attendance came up to me for a chat, and it was great hearing their stories and learning about some of the points they particularly liked, but one attendee made an especially big impression. He said to me “I feel like you just gave me $5,000 of free consulting!” He smiled, I smiled, we talked some more, and we both walked away happy.
Should I have been happy? It would have been nice, of course, to have been paid for the guidance provided, but that wasn’t the point. The point was that I wanted to share something of value. If they could take it and run on their own – then great! If they needed more outside support, I was there to help.
So yes, I was and should have been happy.
What’s the point to you?
Building and maintaining client relationships is not all about “What’s in it for me?” as the service provider. It’s about “What’s in it for the customer?” If our constant focus is how we can help our customers to have a great experience or for them to be successful, then what we decide to do changes. We become more concerned with learning about our customers, their needs, goals, and preferences. We become more concerned with their satisfaction. We become more concerned with offering something of value, even if it doesn’t obviously benefit us. We become more concerned with them than we are with ourselves.
And when the customer senses that caring and concern, they are more attracted to us, more loyal to us, and more willing to refer to us. Oh, and yes, I did get business as a result of that speech – from a different attendee.
So there’s a benefit to us by our focusing on them.
Find a way to give for the sake of giving, and you’ll be surprised what you receive back.
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