How you communicate with your clients will make or break your business. Too often team members are not given adequate, if any, training in the art of successful communication.
It’s a simple process that calls for attention to detail and follow through.
Think of your business communication as a game - like poker...
First, The Shuffle:
This is where the client comes to you with a question, a problem or a need. Your job is to listen thoroughly. It's essential that you approach this situation with a clean slate, in the sense that you must be willing to be changed by what you are hearing. This means to not jump to an assumption that you already know the best answer or solution. You also must be listening to hear the 'why' of what they are saying, not just the what.
Second, The Ante Up:
This is where you will validate and acknowledge what you've just learned from your client. You will confirm that what you think they said is really what they meant. Take this time to express what you've heard about why this is important to them. Give the client the opportunity to respond. Write all of this down and transmit a copy to the client. In some cases, you may want the client to sign it.
Third, The Deal:
Now that you've confirmed that you and your client are talking about the same thing, lay out the options available to them. If you've listened and validated properly, you'll have a clear picture of what to recommend. It may even require you to refer them to another business, if you believe that's the best way to have their need met.
Fourth, The Play:
During this part, the client chooses her solution from the options you've discussed and you implement this accordingly. It's important to remember to maintain excellent communication throughout this step. Let them know about any changes in timing or delivery of the solution. Keep them informed of your progress in an appropriate manner.
Five, The Showdown:
The project is complete. Signed, sealed and delivered. Your job is done, right? Not quite. Take this time to lay all the cards out on the table. Ask your client if and how your solution has met their original need. Listen, again being ready to be responsive to what you hear. This is a great time to receive a testimonial, or a referral. If the client doesn't feel your work has fulfilled their original request, ask them why or how. Refer to your write up and clarify how you can help. Make any adjustments that are within the scope of your work.
Invest the time and energy in communication and you and your clients will enjoy more winning hands!
Zette Harbour is a professional storyteller who inspires and empowers at UltimateSuccessQuotes.com and ZetteHarbour.com
More from living