I get this, I really do but when you know how, it’s actually not all that hard. So let me share 3 easy ways to stand out in the eyes of the people who matter to you.
Nothing hard or expensive or even time consuming just a change of behaviour really so here goes.
1 Make time for banter
Most conversations between relationship builders and their clients (or prospects) concern work issues – as you might expect. Few people bother to “shoot the breeze” and get to know them as people. This is a rookie-error!
Take out the work bits and compare the last conversation you had with a client to the last conversation you had with with a friend. How similar were they?
If they were very different then you’re probably not in the “friend zone” just yet but that’s exactly where you need to be.
Try these personal relationship-builders: –
- Share something about yourself
- Ask for their opinion or even their help
- Learn what they are interested in and comment on it
- Be aware of what’s happening in their lives and ask about it
- Send them a hand-written thank you card if they do something for you
- Send them a hand-written “congratulations” card
- Just tell them something that’s generally interesting or useful
Beware: just like building personal relationships don’t come on too strong, too soon. Let your relationship develop and strengthen and as it does you can become increasingly friendly.
Don’t try too hard!
2 Give more real value than you take
I’ve written about this a number of times but it’s so important.
Most people do their business and take the money; others give but without much thought. This means many of their “gifts” are not valued by the recipients so they’re seen more of a pest than a benefactor. Not the “look” we’re after at all!
No, giving only counts if you’re sure that the recipient values your gift. Here are some simple ideas: –
- Send them a link to a website you’ve found that you know they’ll find useful, interesting or amusing.
- Send over a how-to guide you’ve written (or discovered) that you know will be useful to them. Brevity is all, BTW!
- Introduce them to somebody who can genuinely add value to them. Potential clients are the best!
- Share something with them that not many people know
- Ask them to participate in a study you’re doing. They get a copy when it’s done, of course.
- Offer your advice, experience or skills for free to tackle a problem they have.
- Send them a book you think they’ll like with a hand-written inscription inside.
- Buy their team a tin of chocolates as a celebration of a publicised success that they’ve achieved.
- Invite them to a seminar that you know they’ll really enjoy – doesn’t even have to be one you’re running.
Giving real value is one of the most powerful ways to stand out and become somebody people want to have around.
3 Learn something about their company (and use it)
Take some time to actually research a client company. Google is the obvious starting point but don’t overlook their LinkedIn page or Twitter feed.
Find something you can comment on. Anything that’s interesting to you; looks new or you think the client would be proud of will do.
Avoid any bad news or anything that could be taken as a criticism of them. I know that’s obvious but some things are borderline – if in doubt, leave it out!
When you’ve discovered something you have some choices: –
- Drop them an email of give them a call to specifically talk about it with them
- Mention it in passing next time you have to interact over a business matter
- Congratulate them on social media: LinkedIn or Twitter
- Send them a hand-written note – very powerful when used properly!
You don’t have to make a big deal over it but it shows they are more than just a money making machine to you.
Sure, if you have the time, money and expertise you can really set about differentiating your offering. But if you don’t, or if you don’t have the authority to do so, then it’s all down to you.
In other words you have to differentiate yourself!
The best way is to use the skills and experience that you’ve built up over the years but this isn’t always possible, especially if you’ve just started out. So what can you do?
Well, you can do what we’ve suggested in this blog post – use your personality, give real value and show you’re interested in them.
All this shouts “I see you as a person not just a money-making machine” and they love it!
The true power of this kind of differentiation comes from repartition. Lots of small interactions over time will eventually register with your client or prospect making you stand out from those who just can’t be arsed to do it.
They may not buy from you immediately but at least they’ll take your calls giving you a fighting chance to do business in the future.