Well, it’s December. Where did the time go? Here in New York City, we went from a two day Fall to what seems like will be a long time Winter! And we will soon enter the days of company and family holiday parties and other distractions. What might get lost is that NOW is the time for you to establish your position with clients for 2015. We’ve got eight days to accomplish this. Come December 16, it will be “Happy Holidays” and “See you next year!”
In other words…too late!
Hear Them Out First
Yes, you need to be prepared to give a thorough synopsis of your business with your clients. You will have the opportunity to tell them how you believe your team did this year and regale them with all that you’ve accomplished on their behalf. But wait! First, you need to hear how THEY think you did and what issues they are anticipating for 2015. To do that, I recommend the following four questions that you ask (and do it soon!).
Four Client Questions to Ask Now!
Asking these four questions before entering 2015 will illustrate your concern for your client’s world next year and your desire to further your partnership with them:
- How did 2014 close out for you and your team/organization?
- What is mission-critical for you next year?
- What challenges will you have to neutralize?
- How do you see our relationship growing/expanding?
Ask these questions with optimism, alacrity and curiosity. Be genuine in your listening, which means that you must really be attentive and responsive to what they are saying. Repeat their issues back to them so they know you comprehend what they’ve said. Ask them if you have captured the issues correctly. Don’t be afraid to ask for more explanation or clarification. I have found that simply saying, “Really?’ can lead to an even deeper look by a client at what their future plans entail…which is great for you to know, right?
Remember, no matter what your client expresses, you’ve credentialed yourself by asking these empathetic questions that further establishes your partnership. The “color” you’ll receive is important to think about throughout the holidays to design/plan your response to their core issues.
And did I mention…do it now!! Let me know how it goes.