The ability for businesses to easily work with their clients has value—especially during the more difficult moments of the relationship. Setting the tone of the partnership early will signify to your clients how you solve issues and sets the precedent for inevitable issues down the road. You set the tone of approachability—indicating to your client that ‘no matter the problem, let’s talk and we [you and your client] will work out the solution together.’
The barriers you put in place—sometimes unseen—will result in more money and time spent on meaningless fixes during the process/service. I say “meaningless” because many of the difficulties that derive from the delivery of a service would be handled more efficiently had there been more thought invested earlier in the strategy phases of account management and business development.
There are 2 areas of business development and account management that businesses can immediately look at to improve their ease of doing business.
Bringing a new client into the fold of your business’s ethos is an emotional change that requires a heavy amount of nurturing and overcommunicating. Your client is begging to follow you on this new journey. It requires your business to set the tone and direction of the engagement.
But how do you set the direction? Lead by following. What do I mean? Ask questions and keep asking questions until you’re satisfied with the information. Usually, this will take place during an intake meeting of some sort. Here’s the deal though, listen up! Setting a good direction literally begins with the next email you send to that client. From the intake meeting, you should have established the direction, structure, and timeline or service expectations and communicating every detail clearly sets the tone of that relationship. It establishes your competence in pre-problem solving. You develop a level of trust so when a problem arises down the road, the client feels much more willing to discuss the issue directly with you to collectively tackle and solve it.
If you’re in the business of solutions-based selling, enterprise selling, etc., there’s a good chance your selling methodology produces the interest needed to cause the purchase. If pricing is a road block, setting up multiple payment options (2 or 3 max) gives you multiple negotiating touchpoints. Internally this allows you to plan for pricing objections and still successfully negotiate. Externally, it appears your business is easy to work with and the client’s needs are at heart from a financial perspective.
Whenever businesses can improve their ease of doing business, it is felt by the client. As customers in our daily lives, we always know when the ease of a business transaction is far more complicated than it needs to be. Like policies in our government, sometimes we need to simply reassess why current practices and business procedures are in place and ask “does it serve our clients today?” Are we optimizing or hurting those relationships long term with the current processes and policies? Revisit how you can best make a client’s life easier, the impact it has is worthwhile.