Sometimes your biggest time drain can be your existing clients. I am not talking about the time you spend with your clients executing after you made the sale. That is no waste of time! And I am not talking about the time you spend working together on what’s next and pushing their business (and your business) forward. That’s where the action is in becoming a strategic partner.
I am talking about the time your client wants to spend making small talk, shooting the breeze, and solving all of the world’s problems.
Spending time getting to know your clients on a personal level helps to build the strong relationships you need. It’s important. People buy from people. But you will run across a few clients that want far more than their fair share of your time.
Here are some ideas to help you build those relationships without giving up the time you need to make your number.
- Disclose Your Hard Stop in Advance: One way to ensure that you don’t spend more time than you have with a client that wants to spend time on small talk is to disclose your hard stop time right away. Begin the conversation by saying something like: “I have a hard stop at 2:00 PM, and then I have to rush to the office for a mandatory meeting with my sales manager.” Your clients will be respectful of your deadlines if you disclose them. Especially if you have another meeting.
- Call These Clients from the Road: Sometimes you need to give these contacts your time and attention. One way meet their needs without losing your sacred time is to call them from the road (hands-free only!). The time you spend driving or waiting for an appointment is time that you can put use taking care of the clients who want to talk about non-work related subjects. You give them the time they need without losing giving up your productive selling time.
- Put Them On Rotation: Some of the clients that want your time will often request it when you don’t have the time give them. One way to handle these clients is to put them on rotation. Instead of waiting for them to call to get your time, schedule the time in advance. Before you leave a meeting, schedule the next meeting. Maybe schedule it three weeks out. If you contact knows you are scheduled to be there soon, they’ll make fewer demands on your time in between the schedule appointments.
Remember, these clients aren’t trying to hurt you. They like you. They like working with you. They are your raving fans, and they are your best references. By establishing a plan to meet their needs and protect your time, you can maintain control of your calendar and protect your most productive sales time.
How do you give your clients the time they need for relationship developing without giving up your productive sales time?
How do you avoid insulting the clients that want your time?
Where else can you get the time you need for needy clients?