Are you a vendor providing a service to your clients?
That’s what we do at Ghost Blog Writers.
And that’s what many businesses do.
Digital agencies. Design agencies. Consultants. There are lots.
And many of these industries are very competitive. Pricing can get tricky. You can work on your pricing and efficiencies to win new business.
But there are other areas where you can gain a competitive advantage that don’t really cost you anything.
And they can really make a big difference in the eyes of your clients and potential clients.
Maybe it’s because this is critical to me personally, but I get irked when people are late. I’ve always felt, at least as far back as I can remember, that if you’re late to something it’s basically telling the other person that their time is not important.
Here in Wisconsin to my parents’ generation Vince Lombardi was like a god. He had something called Lombardi Time. It basically meant that if you’re on time then you’re late.
Be early. For everything.
I’m still working on this here at GBW. Delivering posts on time to clients is big for us. We’re not perfect, but now we have a few systems in place to solve issues and we’ll keep working to improve in that area.
I think it makes a big difference with a lot of clients.
I’ll call you later this week…
The week comes and goes and no call from that person.
Does that drive you crazy?
Even little things like that drive me crazy. And I know they drive others crazy too.
Simply doing what you say you do mostly all the time is huge in life and business. If you follow through with your clients your reputation will build over time.
It’s amazing how many people are unreliable with simple things. Making promises and not keeping them.
For me, I have to use my calendar and inbox to keep track of promises as best I can. I don’t like leaving things open ended so if it’s something I need to do it stays in my inbox.
Otherwise I put it on the calendar so it’s done before I told the other person to expect it.
It really goes a long way.
Business can get frustrating at times. It’s easy to lose your temper. I’ve been there.
A client gets angry and unreasonable and flies off the handle in an email or on the phone. You want to respond back in the same way.
But nothing really moves forward in that scenario. Nobody responds well to outbursts. Would you?
This also goes into other areas like how you treat your employees. How you treat your partners.
People want to be around others that treat everybody well.
How driven are you to succeed?
If you align your success so that when you succeed your clients succeed then you’re in good shape.
I also think curiosity is good.
It’s good for life and for business. I like being around people that are curious. Those that know that they don’t know everything.
I have to work on this, but I do think I’m fairly curious about things. I like asking questions and finding the answer.
And the more I ask the more I realize how much I don’t know.
This is a good quality to have in a vendor. If your clients know that you’re curious they know that you’re always looking to get better.
And when you improve it’s to their advantage.
6. Taking Blame
This one kind of bleeds into the next one, but it starts with the idea of blame.
There is a weird thing going on in life right now.
Some people focus a lot on blame.
Something goes wrong. Instead of focusing on a solution they focus energy on who’s to blame. And mostly why they’re not the ones to blame.
Let’s say there is a person. We’ll call them Joe.
Joe’s client emails him asking why a report was never sent.
Joe realizes he forgot to send it.
He instantly starts looking for someone else to blame. And he reports back to the client with something like:
My assistant forgot to add the reminder to my calendar.
We had an issue with our scheduling software.
Nobody cares about blame.
People know mistakes happen. We all make them. The key is focusing on the future.
Finding a solution to the current problem and looking for a solution to implement so the mistake can be avoided as best as possible in the future.
When it comes to blame, the best policy is just to accept your role in it. And to focus on what you can control moving forward.
And building on the last one is just focusing on solutions.
Take the blame. Then quickly move forward to find a solution.
When you’re not worried about taking the blame you can find solutions. And while your competitors are busy worrying about blame you can jump ahead of them by figuring out solutions that no one else in the industry has figured out yet.
You get more efficient. You can provide more value to your customers.
It works out for everyone. Except your competition.
It’s always the best policy.
Nobody likes being lied to.
Ryan Braun used to be a respected figure here in Wisconsin. But he cheated. Then he lied about it.
Fans were upset that he cheated. But I think they would have forgiven him. Hey, everybody makes mistakes. Everybody is guilty of poor judgment.
But he lied about it. He blamed others. And he kept lying.
That behavior makes it really difficult for people to like and respect you.
It’s the Lance Armstrong situation.
So always try to be honest with your clients. It’s not always easy, but it’s the best long-term strategy.
This kind of gets back to the kindness thing. I’m thinking mostly about how you interact with employees, partners, vendors and clients.
Just respecting them. Letting them go about their lives the way they see fit. Take them seriously.
I’ve read that respect is huge for relationships.
The focus there was more on your spouse. But it works the same in business.
Let’s end with one of my favorites.
All that matters in life is the results.
A lot of people talk like they’re experts. I’m guilty of it. But the results are what really matter.
Several years ago now I got frustrated with health advice. I finally thought to myself:
I’m going to look at healthy people for advice.
No more health advice from unhealthy people.
It’s been huge. I’ve been the healthiest I’ve ever been in my life.
How are the results you’re providing for your clients. Do the best you can to build your business around results.
It’s competitive out there.
If you’re in the service world you’re probably competition a lot on price.
And money talks in most instances, but there are things even more valuable than money. Your clients know that.
That’s where the items above can be places where you can gain an edge. And that can mean growth for your company.