- DESIGNING THE ALLIANCE
This is something I learnt during my Coach-Certification days. It is very necessary to know the rules, regulations, do’s & don’ts of the relationship you are getting into. And I have used it in every area of my life — Personal & Professional.
The Thumb Rule:
- Be explicit.
- Be direct.
- Bring out the worst case scenario and you will know the boundaries you can & cannot cross.
- WORD PLAY
I pay attention to the words the client uses. If he casually uses statements like “lets see” or “lets talk about it later” or “will get back to you” — those are Red Flags. If I hear such statements, almost immediately I address these statements and ask the client what does he mean by them SPECIFICALLY.
- THE WRITTEN WORD
Expectations & Deliverables — I take it in writing.
You can claim what was verbally stated.
But you always challenge was given in writing.
- ALL IN OR BUST
Trust is a double edged sword — it can either hurt you or the client. That is why I tell the client — if either of us wants to cheat the other, we may most probably succeed. But that would only cause both of us harm. So its best we trust each other 100% for the duration of the project.
Remember — there is no such thing as 99.99% trust.
- EXPLICITLY EXPLICIT
Be explicit what you can do and cannot do.
NEVER overpromise just to keep someone happy.
- WHY I PREFER PREMIUM CLIENTS
A big client or small client — The amount of headache & effort that goes into getting & keeping a customer happy is always the same. Just because a client paid more doesn’t mean I am going to worship him. And just because another client couldn’t afford to pay me top dollar doesn’t mean I will treat him like crap. In my eyes — every client who pays deserves the best. So that is why I focus on always getting Premium clients who pay more per hour than those who pay less per hour.
- QUALIFY YOUR CLIENT
If anyone tells you that their product or service is for everyone and anyone — then that individual/product/service will not survive the test of time. In the same way — not everyone is my client. I only prefer those who have the money, maturity & means to work with me. Otherwise — sorry, you can opt for Ramu next door.
Remember Aretha Franklin’s 1967’s song “Respect Yourself”? When I teach aspiring Online Consultants & Entrepreneurs — I always remind them — If you do not respect yourself, the client will not respect you. To date, I have never had a client who didn’t respect me. I don’t care how much money the client has — if the nose is up in the air — its goodbye from my side. And that principle has made me refuse celebrities & cry-babies. Yes, the money maybe good but I don’t need to take crap.
The relationship between the client & the service provider is an intimate and scared bond. If you both cannot like each other — its best you do not work with each other. Which brings me to the next point…..
Whatever client you take — take a long term view on the relationships. That is why I never lie, never bluff, never over-promise or over-charge even if I could. Simply because I remind myself — when someone is with you in the long haul, you cannot fool them forever. So whichever client I accept — I tell myself — this client is here to stay. So make it worthwhile.
- EXIT STRATEGY
Every Marriage has a possibility of a Divorce.
Every business venture has the bull of bankruptcy chasing it.
Every journey that begins will eventually end.
So that is why whenever I speak to my client — I discuss the exit strategy with them and bring out the bad & ugly possibilities that IF (big if) the relationship doesn’t work — we agree upon the terms & conditions of our departure. So that makes the client feel safe, secure & strong.
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