Serve Your Clients Better Using Your 4 H’s: Heart, Head, Hands and Habits
It’s not about you!” That was the first sentence of Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, which has since become one of the best-selling books of all time. As professional speakers, we market our expertise, our eloquence and our enterprise; yet the key to lasting relationships with our clients is our service. How are we, each time we present, demonstrating that it is not about us? In today’s market, clients want high value, and high value includes extraordinary service. No longer do they simply want a keynote speaker to come in, motivate their employees and leave. They want long-term, authentic relationships based on a shared commitment to the organization and its mission.
The first step in serving our clients at a higher level is to examine our own mission in this business. Whenever I work with a group of leaders in any organization, I ask them this gut-level question, “Are you into power, or are you into service?” Ask yourself that same question because your clients will quickly perceive the answer. I have discovered a simple framework for understanding practical ways to keep the focus on service in my work and in my life through Ken Blanchard’s book, Lead Like Jesus: Lessons From the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time. He suggests that someone who is truly focused on serving others examine their heart, head, hands and habits. Ask yourself the following questions to help you explore these concepts.
Am I truly in this business to serve my clients, or am I doing this solely for the money? Our values come from our hearts—what do we stand for? What are our guiding principles in life? Our passion for our message should be based on our foundational values. Am I driven (satisfying my own passion) or am I called (passionately helping others to become the best they can be)? We must be certain that our values align with those of our clients in order for our message to have the greatest impact. My friend, John Blumberg, CSP, shared with me that he had turned down a speaking engagement because the values of the organization and the products they marketed were in conflict with his personal values. Sometimes we may even need to help our clients clarify those values, both in their organization and in their personal lives.
Does my message mirror my deepest beliefs or am I just giving a performance? Our knowledge and beliefs come from this place—what is your mission or purpose in life? One way we can serve our clients at a deeper level is to examine clearly what our own gifts and beliefs are and to be sure they are consistent with our actions. Then, it is important to spend time respectfully understanding the culture and beliefs of our clients.
How are my actions, both on and off the platform, supporting my beliefs and values? Our actions should reflect both our beliefs and our values. If we focus on what the public sees, external appearances rather than internal realities, the result is an illusion. Is there a difference between the image I project and what I do when no one is watching? When our values, beliefs and actions are incongruent, we confuse our clients and we lose their trust, thus diminishing the power of our message.
What am I doing to keep my own emotional bank account filled so that I may be fully present for my clients? Habits are the ways we stay connected at a deeper level to our attitude of service, whether through a mastermind or other support groups, reading, prayer, meditation, exercise, or other sharing relationships. Have you found a role model to help you become a servant leader in all that you do? The most important thing is to develop a strategy that keeps you focused in a concrete way on how you can serve the client rather than yourself. Then, you will be able to serve all people in your life on a deeper level and your business will soar.
4 Things All Customers Want
British Airways did a study in 1973 that has been repeated hundreds and hundreds of times, and the results have been the same every time. They found there were four things all of their customers wanted:
- Friendly, Caring Service. Focus on creating relationships beyond the business interaction. How are you showing friendly, caring service to your clients? Are you easy to work with, or are you a prima donna? Many speakers come early, stay late and even do extra sessions for their clients.
- Flexibility. They want you to jiggle the system for them. How are you demonstrating flexibility with your clients? Do you work with them to reach the objectives they want within their budget? Eileen McDargh, CSP, CPAE, shared an idea with me that my clients love: She has a “Granny Rate” for any clients in the part of the country where she can see her grandchildren!
- Problem Solving. And they want the first person they speak with to be able to help. Are you easily available to your clients? Are you willing to help your clients solve problems even when it has nothing to do with the professional part of your work? When we research, customize and talk with audience members ahead of time, we often find problems the client did not realize existed.
- Recovery from Mistakes. There are four parts to recovery—apologize sincerely, fix the mistake, do something extra, and then follow up to make sure the customer is happy. How do you recover when a client is not satisfied? Do you have a recovery program in place with your staff?