For those of us who are new to coaching, this blog article is all about connecting with your customer. Sometimes it’s easy to build a relationship, sometimes it’s hard— but it is a crucial part of your work. You must be able to connect with the people who hire you. Let’s look at some steps that will help you build up your clients. It’s not as hard as you may think.
Warn Them, Inform Them… Let Them Know What to Expect
When you meet with a client for the first time, it would be advisable to explain to them what they’re expected to be able to do. Give them some notice. You can turn an advance warning into a relationship-building opportunity. Ask them about things they’ve wanted to do, what they’ve been trying to achieve, and actually show interest in your clients.
You’ve made an error? Turned up late to a meeting? Accepting full responsibility, while recognizing the consequences of the error, shows that you’re prepared to take it like a grown-up. People respect that.
Tone Down Your Voice When Giving Bad News
Literally. Lower the tone of your voice and your rate of speaking. Generally, when people get excited or emotional about ideas they tend to raise their voice pitch and pace. When you’re giving bad news or feedback that could be construed negatively or critically, you want to give the impression that you are thinking clearly, logically and reasonably – not emotionally – and certainly not irrationally.
ALWAYS Begin with the Good News
When you have both good news and bad, start with the good. When people hear bad news, they have an internal stress reaction that causes them to tune-out other information. Try to ensure that the client fully comprehends and appreciates the entire message by making sure you give the good news first. Always give them something to feel good about.
Express Those Negatives as Positives
Rather than saying, “We can’t meet until Tuesday,” instead try, “We can meet up as soon as Tuesday.” It’s the same information, but wording it positively enhances your message. It makes the client feel important.
Try to Remind Them of the Bigger Picture
Sometimes clients don’t realize that the ‘bad news’ is in their own best interest. Try to always frame things inside the bigger picture. Yes, this is negative today—but how does it change the plan positively? Don’t let them go away feeling as though they failed.
Follow-up! Always Follow-up!
With some clients, a well-timed phone call after bad news goes a long way in proving to the client that you’ve gone the extra mile. “I just wanted to check with you to see how things are going with that discussion we had…” That raises the perceived value of your service without spending more money. Try it. People like to feel important.
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