David Maistcr, Charles H. Green, and Robert M. Galford, in The Trusted Advisor: 20th Anniversary Edition – February 2, 2021 (Amazon Affiliate Link: https://amzn.to/48vUlcl ) listed ten different topics that customers want from a professional relationship and engagement. I have expanded on their thoughts in this article.
- Make an Impact on Our Business, Don’t Just Be Visible: When building a professional relationship with your customers, more is needed just to be present and visible. What customers truly want is for you to make a significant impact on their business. Customers appreciate proactive engagement and a genuine commitment to their success. They want to feel that you genuinely care about their goals and are actively working towards helping them achieve them. To impact their business, you must deeply understand their needs and challenges. Take the time to listen to their concerns and provide tailored solutions that address their specific pain points. Doing so demonstrates your expertise and establishes yourself as a valuable partner. Additionally, customers appreciate innovation. Stay ahead of the curve and offer fresh ideas and perspectives that can help improve their business outcomes. Continuously seek opportunities to add value and exceed their expectations. Remember, making an impact is about your work and how you conduct yourself. Be reliable, responsive, and trustworthy. Deliver on your promises and consistently go above and beyond to demonstrate your commitment to their success. By making a tangible impact on your customers’ business instead of merely being visible, you build a strong foundation for a successful and long-lasting professional relationship.
2. Invest Your Time in New Areas: Building a strong professional relationship and customer engagement requires ongoing effort and a willingness to explore new areas. As a professional, you should always strive to innovate and stay up-to-date with your customers’ evolving needs and preferences. Investing your time in new areas means actively seeking opportunities to expand your knowledge and skills. This could involve attending industry conferences, participating in training programs, or even networking with other professionals in your field. By doing so, you enhance your expertise and demonstrate a commitment to providing the best possible service to your customers. Furthermore, investing time in new areas lets you stay ahead of the competition. In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business landscape, continuously adapting and evolving is crucial. Your customers will appreciate your ability to offer fresh perspectives, innovative solutions, and the latest industry trends. Remember, the key to a successful professional relationship and engagement is never to become complacent. Stay curious, embrace new challenges, and invest your time cultivating new skills and knowledge. By doing so, you meet and exceed your customers’ expectations, building lasting trust and loyalty.
3. Spend more time helping us think and develop strategies: As a customer, one of the things you value most in a professional relationship and engagement is having someone who can help you think and develop strategies. You want someone who goes beyond providing products or services but truly understands your needs and helps you find the best solutions. A professional who takes the time to listen to your concerns, understand your goals, and ask insightful questions will be able to provide valuable guidance and support. They should be able to offer suggestions and options that align with your objectives and help you think critically about different scenarios. Furthermore, a trusted professional should help you develop strategies tailored to your situation. They should provide you with the tools, resources, and expertise to create a roadmap for success. Spending more time helping you think and strategize enables you to make informed decisions and take proactive steps toward achieving your goals. In summary, customers want professionals who go beyond the transactional aspect, invest time in understanding their needs, and help them develop strategies. By doing so, they provide invaluable support and guidance, allowing customers to make informed decisions and ultimately succeed in their endeavors.
4. Lead our thinking. Tell us what or where our business is going or what it will look like ten years from now: As customers, we want a professional relationship and engagement with businesses that offer us a clear vision of their future: where they’re going and what they will look like ten years from now. A business needs to lead its thinking and provide a roadmap of its long-term goals and direction. Businesses can inspire our trust and confidence by sharing their visions and plans. We want to know that they have a well-thought-out strategy for growth and development. This reassures us as customers and allows us to align our goals and expectations with theirs. When businesses take the lead in communicating their plans, they are forward-thinking and proactive. It demonstrates their commitment to continuous improvement and innovation. By sharing their vision, they invite us to be part of their journey and involve us in the decision-making process that will shape their future. Businesses can capture our interest and loyalty by clearly depicting what they envision. We want to support companies with bold aspirations and striving for long-term success. So, as customers, we look for businesses that can lead our thinking and provide us with an exciting outlook for the future.
4. Jump on any new information so you can stay up-to-date on what’s happening in our business: As a customer, you want to feel connected and informed about the businesses you engage with. One important aspect of a professional relationship is staying up-to-date on what’s happening in your affiliated business. Whether it’s new products or services, promotions, or important announcements, you want to know about it. Customers appreciate businesses that value their engagement and proactively keep them informed. Businesses demonstrate their commitment to transparency and open communication by jumping on new information pieces. This ensures customers are not left in the dark and can make informed decisions based on the latest updates. Staying up-to-date can benefit customers in several ways. It allows you to take advantage of new offerings or discounts that the business may provide. It helps you avoid any changes that could impact your relationship with the business. Furthermore, it shows that the business values your patronage and wants to inform you about its progress and growth. So, whether through regular emails, newsletters, or social media updates, businesses should try to share timely information with their customers. By doing so, they enhance the professional relationship and engagement by keeping customers informed, connected, and involved in their business journey.
5. Use our data to provide us with an extra level of analysis. Ask for it. Please don’t wait for us to come to you: As a customer, you want your professional relationships and engagements to be meaningful and productive. One way to achieve this is by utilizing data to gain deeper insights and make informed decisions. As customers, we value when professionals proactively ask for our data. Please don’t wait for us to come to you; take the initiative to request the necessary information. This shows that you are invested in understanding our needs and preferences. Once you have the data, use it to provide us with an extra level of analysis. Don’t just provide us with standard reports; go beyond and offer insights we may not have considered. Utilize your expertise to uncover patterns, trends, and opportunities that can help us achieve our goals. Analyzing our data in-depth demonstrates your commitment to our success and shows you are willing to go the extra mile. It helps us feel confident in our abilities and builds trust in the professional relationship. Using our data and providing us with advanced analysis shows you are proactive, detail-oriented, and attentive to our unique needs. This level of engagement is what customers want in a professional relationship, as it enables us to make more informed decisions and achieve greater results together.
6. Schedule some offsite meetings together. Join us for brainstorming sessions about our business: Building a strong professional relationship with your customers is crucial for business success. One effective way to achieve this is by scheduling offsite meetings and inviting your customers to join you for brainstorming sessions about your business. Moving away from the office environment and engaging in a more relaxed setting creates open communication and collaboration opportunities. Offsite meetings offer a change of scenery that can spark creativity and stimulate new ideas. Encourage your customers to share their insights, opinions, and suggestions during these sessions. Listening to their perspectives and learning from their experiences will help you strengthen the professional relationship and provide valuable input for your business growth. Brainstorming sessions can also address any challenges or issues your customers may face. You demonstrate your commitment to finding solutions by engaging them in problem-solving discussions. Additionally, these meetings allow for social interaction and networking opportunities in a less formal setting. You create a more meaningful and long-lasting professional relationship by facilitating customer connections and fostering a sense of community. So, schedule some offsite meetings and invite your customers to join you for productive brainstorming sessions. You can create a stronger, more engaged professional relationship that benefits both parties.
7. Make an extra effort to understand how our business works: sit in our meetings. To have a successful professional relationship with your customers, it is essential to make an extra effort to understand how their business works. One way to do this is by actively participating in their meetings. Sitting in on meetings gives you valuable insight into their processes, goals, and challenges. It lets you see firsthand how decisions are made and understand their team dynamics. Immersing yourself in their environment can offer more targeted and relevant solutions to their problems. You also demonstrate your commitment and dedication to their success by attending meetings. It shows that you value their input and will invest your time to serve them better. This level of involvement helps build trust and strengthens the professional relationship. During meetings, make sure to listen and ask thoughtful questions actively. This will enhance your understanding of their business and show genuine interest in their concerns. By showing that you are invested in their success, you create a sense of partnership and foster a deeper level of engagement. Remember, sitting in on meetings is about more than just attending; it is about actively participating and genuinely understanding your customers’ needs and challenges. This understanding is crucial for building a strong professional relationship and ensuring both parties’ long-term success.
8. Helping us see how we compare to others, both within and outside of the industry: As customers, we often want to know how we measure against our competitors. We want to gauge our performance and understand where we stand in the market. This desire extends to comparing ourselves to others within and outside of our industry. By providing us with insights and data on how we compare to others, you can help us make informed decisions and identify areas for improvement. This knowledge allows us to benchmark our performance, set realistic goals, and stay ahead of the competition. When you help us understand our position in the market, it demonstrates your commitment to our success. It shows that you value our business and want to help us thrive. This engagement fosters trust and loyalty because you genuinely care about our growth and development. You empower us to make strategic decisions and stay competitive by offering comparative analysis and industry benchmarks. It enables us to adapt and innovate, ensuring continued relevance in a dynamic market. So, please provide us with the tools and resources to see how we compare to others, both within and outside.
9. Tell us why our competitors are doing what they’re doing: Understanding why your competitors make certain business decisions can provide valuable insights into their strategies and help you stay ahead in the market. Here are a few reasons why your competitors may be doing what they’re doing:
- Market Analysis:Competitors may be responding to changes in the market landscape. By analyzing market trends, they identify new opportunities or threats that prompt them to adapt their strategies accordingly.
- Customer Preferences:Your competitors are likely gathering information about customer preferences and needs. They might be developing products or services that align better with the evolving demands of the market. Observing their actions can help you anticipate shifts in customer expectations and tailor your offerings accordingly.
- Competitive Advantage:Your competitors may have identified a unique selling point that sets them apart from others in the industry. They could be focusing on leveraging their strengths to gain a competitive edge. By studying their strategies, you can uncover potential areas where you can differentiate your own business.
- Industry Trends:Competitors monitor emerging industry trends and technologies. They may adopt new technologies or practices to improve efficiency or gain a competitive advantage. Understanding these industry trends can help you stay up-to-date and identify opportunities for innovation within your own business.
By understanding why your competitors make specific choices, you can gain valuable insights that inform your decision-making process and help you stand out in the market. To stay competitive, monitoring and analyzing your competitors’ actions is important.
10. Please discuss with us other things we should be doing. We welcome all ideas! Building a strong and positive professional relationship with your customers is crucial for the success of any business. But what exactly do customers want from this relationship? Let’s explore some key factors that can help foster customer satisfaction and engagement. First and foremost, customers want clear and effective communication. This means responding to their inquiries, promptly addressing their concerns, and providing transparent information about your products or services. A timely and open line of communication shows that you value their needs and are committed to providing the best service possible. Next, customers appreciate personalization. Tailoring your approach to meet their needs and preferences shows that you genuinely care about their satisfaction. This might involve recommending relevant solutions, offering customized experiences, or remembering their past interactions to provide a more personalized experience. Customers also value reliability. They want to trust that you will deliver on your promises and consistently deliver high-quality products or services. Honesty and integrity go a long way in building customer trust and loyalty. Lastly, customers appreciate being heard. Actively seeking and listening to their feedback, whether improving your products or enhancing their experience, shows that you value their opinions and are willing to make changes to serve them better. Maintaining a strong professional relationship with your customers involves continuously evolving and adapting to their needs. So, let’s keep the conversation going! We welcome all ideas and suggestions on how we can better engage and meet the expectations of our valued customers.