You made a lot of promises to your clients when they were dream clients. Now they are clients and your solution is up and running, and it is producing results. But, as you know, this won’t last forever. Just because everything is fine and your client is happy, doesn’t mean that you aren’t abusing them.
A Serious Case of Abuse
It is abusive not to walk your talk and keep your commitments. Worse still, it is abusive to make commitments that you know you can’t keep—or that you don’t intend to keep. That’s the obvious and easy stuff. But these easy cases aren’t the abuse of which you may most likely be guilty.
The client abuse that you may be most guilty of is neglect.
Unless you planned your own obsolescence, it is neglect when you don’t follow up with your client on a regular and frequent basis. It is neglect not to have scheduled, planned follow-up meetings that are kept even when everything is going well. It is neglect to disappear for long periods of time.
It’s also neglect not to work the org chart vertically to ensure that what you are doing is working for everyone it touches and to explore what might be done to make constant, consistent improvements. Improvement, changes, and modifications are what prevent dissatisfaction from planting roots deep in some neglected part of your client’s organization. That neglect can be your undoing.
Checking In Is Neglect
You may be tempted to prevent abusing your clients by making a few phone calls to “check in.” Checking in is neglect. There is no substitute for presence. When you aren’t close enough to visit, scheduled, intensive review meetings can be conducted using the Internet or the telephone.
Checking in doesn’t go far enough or deep enough. It is abusive of your relationship and a destroyer of trust not to have a formal written agenda to review your progress, to discover what needs changed, and to ensure that the outcome that you sold is being delivered. Checking in isn’t serious enough to draw out what might be made better and how you might make a meaningful difference.
Your clients may tell you “no news is good news.” Never believe them, and never let the conversation end there. No news is no news and should never be mistaken for good news.
If everything is moving along fine and no one within your dream client is asking you to make an improvement, it is neglect not to dig in and find something that you take the initiative to proactively improve. If you have ideas (and you must continually have new ideas), it is abuse not to share them and to help your client make further gains.
It’s client abuse and neglect not to treat your clients like they are still your dream clients.
How do you prevent abusing your clients by neglecting them?
Is it possible to neglect your clients even if you are producing good results?
What expectations did you set around your commitments to be available, to have a presence, and to own and manage the outcome that you sold?
Do you treat your clients as well as you treat your dream clients? Are you as proactive? Do you have the same presence? Do you still search for ways to make a difference?