Now that we’re getting into a slight groove with managing our time and realizing the opportunity of connecting to clients in our virtual world, I realized there are pitfalls we can find ourselves in without the right planning and execution.
Listed below are the pitfalls to avoid!
As long as we all just meet and talk, we’ll be okay.
Arranging and facilitating a meeting requires MORE planning than an in-person meeting. If you haven’t noticed, once a meeting is on, you hear crickets! To avoid crickets, create, circulate, and time out your agenda. Check-in with everyone at the start relative to their health and family’s health. Make sure you have a goal in mind for the meeting to produce. Assign a note-taker who will record action items, owners, and deadlines. Call on people during the meeting to get their input (and ensure you have their attention!). Once the call concludes, make sure the notes are distributed quickly. Throughout the week, follow up on the action items so that projects keep moving toward the agreed-upon goals.
We’re all smart, we’ll get to a solution.
You must first understand and acknowledge each participant’s issues and challenges. Factoring in these issues is critical to stewarding your meeting, not being its custodian. To get to a solution that is shared/welcomed by all participants, you must master the skill of synthesis. Meaning, synthesizing each topic as you move through your agenda. No one will do this except you.
The idea I have for my client will be welcomed.
That would be NO!
In the area of business development, be patient. Focus on strengthening your relationship with your client. This requires that you be interested in them BEFORE you become interesting to them. Listen first, fix second. Especially now, assume people are anxious and skeptical. Neutralize this by listening, as though you are the client’s “crash-cushion.” The best way to listen is to be the one asking the smart probing questions that get them talking. All will be revealed!
Every client should want this idea I have.
I realize you want to make a difference and recommend a product/service. Choose wisely. Now is the time to focus on your “A” Clients first. It is essential for them to know you emotionally care about them and you KNOW what their challenges are now. Not necessarily to fix but to know. That alone is comforting. The next step is to recommend a brainstorming call to air ideas together. This type of collaboration will demonstrate your willingness to partner rather than sell, advise rather than sell.
As long as I have my contact, my corporate relationship is safe.
The only thing certain these days is uncertainty. Putting all your eggs in one basket/client contact is a risk you should not be taking. This is the time to pick up mindshare! You do this by determining every potential executive with whom you need to develop an indispensable corporate relationship. But don’t go around your current contact…that could backfire! Collaborate with him/her and determine how you could be helpful to their colleagues and get their opinion of the idea you have. Mutually decide if they would be comfortable setting up an introduction. Your goal is to make your contact look good by presenting options to their colleagues that can strengthen their business operations.
Above all else, be present for clients, listen and learn from them. They’ll remember your humanity during this difficult time.