I ran into a client at an industry-related Valentine’s party and when speaking about a staff member of ours, he stated “I love working with your Project Manager and the Board loves him too.” At Wember, we work hard to have our clients reach this level of satisfaction. How does a business get to the point of love? Why would we target this specific word, and, why should you?
First, the “why.” All I can say is, who doesn’t want to be loved? It’s human nature and it’s not restricted to a significant other or family member. Being loved is the highest form of flattery and, when stated honestly, it makes you feel special. More importantly, being loved is good for business.
So, how do you get to this point in a relationship? Think about it as you would if you were on Match.com.
Profile Page – This is your marketing packet. It communicates who you are and what you stand for. Is it honest or overstated? Are you who you say you are and can you back it up? How many times have you heard, or experienced, someone who indicates they work for Ball Engineering and you think ‘aerospace’ when it’s actually the ‘cannery’. This is your introduction, the foundation of any relationship, make it authentic.
First Meeting – The interview is set. This is your time to impress your future partner. Are you sincere? Do you listen to their questions and answer them thoughtfully or simply tell them what you think they want to hear? Do you have questions for them, and are you truly interested in their responses? Too many times interviews become a competition of chest-beating of why contenders are the best. Now, is that really the way to win someone’s heart? The people you bring to this first meeting are of significance. Do you invite your parents / boss or your best friend / marketing director? Whenever possible, bring the people that matter the most to make it an engaging experience.
Dating – You have been awarded the project, progress is being made, but relationships require continuous nurturing. Are you as charming today as you were on your first date? Do you add joy to the day, or are your meetings all business and fact-based? Do you inquire about their day and listen to their reply? Are you pleasant to all around the table including your staff and their constituents? Have you followed through on promises? Being under contract is the beginning of a relationship, and although your contract may make it feel like a shotgun wedding, separation is still an option. You’re not married, so take care of your own dirty laundry and clean up after yourself.
Creating a beautiful and functional design is what you were hired for, but having a client fall in love with you takes an effort that is far beyond what is in any contract. It’s truly about how you treat people and the personal touches you provide that show you care about making the other person’s worries dissipate. Give your client attention, understanding and collaboration, and they will write you love letters.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
~ Paul Wember, Owner’s Representative