I believe that far too few marketing/sales/new biz dev courses spend time on today’s subject: delivery of services.
This is actually the #1 thing in your sales arsenal. It’s not the fastest path to cash so that’s the main reason it’s last in the series.
Let me explain.
Once you’ve been in business awhile, your calling card will be your reputation. Your success. The happiness of your current and past clients.
Those people will help fill your pipeline via referrals. And referrals are one of the absolute strongest ways to acquire new business.
However, when you’re at the beginning of your career or just needing to re-focus on new biz dev, waiting on referrals from clients is not likely to yield massive dividends.
So, it pays to deliver services that rock. That have amazing outcomes. That do more than meet expectations.
How do you knock your clients’ socks off?
Here’s my take on it:
1. Luxurious CX. First understand that your customer experience (CX) is one of your most powerful sales tools. Then, craft your CX in such a way that your clients feel taken care of, heard, understood and prioritized.
It’s amazing to me how many service providers don’t really follow through once the check has cleared.
If CX is a new concept to you, I define it to mean each and every touch point your potential and actual customers have with your brand over the course of their engagement with your company.
This means things like emails from support staff, thank you notes, invoices and every client meeting are ALL part of the CX arc. So is how you communicate the results you achieve for them.
2. Healthy Boundaries. One of the most common mistakes I see new vendors to the corporate world make is trying to give them everything to justify their existence. It’s easy to think, “Oh my gosh they’re paying me so much I might as well just add this piece too.”
Don’t make that mistake. Stick to your contractual obligations but don’t overdeliver to the point where you’re burned out or resentful or the client thinks you’re a pushover and/or available all the time. If in the process of fulfilling a contract you discover that you could help them with something else, that’s a new negotiation. Don’t wrap it up in your current contract.
3. Manage expectations. It generally takes longer to accomplish things the bigger the company. Be sure to build in a cushion of time so that you can help your client without going over budget (benefits them) or over time (benefits you).
4. DWYSYWD. Do what you say you will do is absurdly simple but often overlooked. If you say you’ll have the report in a week, have it in a week. If you say you’ll invoice on the 3rd, invoice on the third. This may seem simple but I saw a vendor recently botch a gig by not doing what she said she would do. She was constantly late on deadlines and when she did deliver, her work was not complete. It was so incredibly frustrating that the client fired her even though that was the path of greatest resistance for the client. Once you have a gig, do whatever it takes to keep your commitments.
5. Have a concrete end point. Many people like on-going work. I do too. But you want to have start and end dates on things so that everyone is clear about who’s doing what by when. Of course you can roll things over into a retainer relationship or as-need thought partnership, but when that time comes, re-nogotiate that too.
6. Be strong and humble. You are no doubt going to do great things for each of your clients. You must own your area of expertise. They’re not paying you to say “Yes” to the boss. That’s what employees are for. At the same time, admit what you do not know or need help on. Making friends at a client’s business outside of the person who hired you is a good thing.
7. Remember that you are an outsider. Some of your ideas for implementation or change that seem obvious to you are going to fall on clients’ deaf ears. Remember that you want to leave your clients in better shape than when you arrived, but that they also have to develop their capacity for allowing excellence and growth over time. In other words, they might not be ready for all that you have to give them. You might not be able to make the massive sweeping impact you know is possible because you must operate within their current paradigm. Just do your best.
8. Be transparent in your billing. This will help you in the long run. Vendors are notorious for jamming expenses to clients they perceive as “loaded.” Remember that you really don’t know everything about another business and certainly not their values and priorities when it comes to expenditures. Be clear and precise with billing and you will get paid on time.
That’s my treatise on delivery of services! I hope you’ve enjoyed this training on how to land corporate clients and that it’s helped you get clear on the steps to take to pursue these lucrative contracts.
It’s changed my life and given me opportunities to learn and grow in ways I never would have thought possible.