The transformation of a client

August 20, 2008 / by Michael K. Redman

So what actually happens for our clients when they come through the door?  What is the transformation they go through between the time they inquire if we can help them and the moment they trust us and believe we can help?

They usually come in not really knowing everything we do.  They are usually feeling and thinking several things in the beginning like, can these people really help?  I don't know what I really need, can they help me figure it out?  Or maybe they are wondering if we can be trusted and whether or not they can afford this.  They may even be wondering if we are going to take advantage of them because we are in marketing and they aren't experts in this area. 

They sit down in our conference room and we begin by asking them about themselves and their organization, we begin by listening to their story.  We ask them what they want to accomplish and what they see as their largest obstacles.  We take time to listen to them and their story and we seek to understand them.  We then make sure we heard them correctly before we begin to tell them about ourselves.  The more we understand them the more we know how to respond.  We truly want to help people and we believe that most people can tell if you are being genuine or not.

Once we understand the basics we then share our story and how we think we can help them and their organization.  The ways in which we can help them tell their story more effectively to the people that matter to them.  Sometimes it's their message and sometimes it's their name.  Sometimes it's through their logo and sometimes it's through their advertising.  We bring simple rules to the forefront and then help them understand how they can consistently apply them to everything. 

It's all about telling their story consistently and in a clear and compelling way, to the people that matter, in a way that they can hear it.  We use a few specific rules, guidelines and sayings to help us refine this process.

  1. Tell your story and be genuine.

  2. Be consistent with your message everywhere you tell it and in everyway you tell it.

  3. It's not what you say, it's what people hear that matters.

  4. People buy from people they like.

  5. Overt Benefits then Features then the Significant difference.

  6. Who are you, what do you do, how do you do it and who are you doing it for?

  7. Don't market to yourself.

After an hour or two together our potential clients begin to see how we can really help them and some of the benefits from working with us.  After our first real meeting they begin to trust us.  Not all at once but they believe two things about us.  The first is that we are people of character that they can relate to and are likable.  The second is that we are competent at our profession.  Our customers aren't really sure when it happened but if they look back they realize pretty soon that what they appreciate about us is that we aren't just selling them a product but we are helping them find their unique story and helping them tell it better.  As one CEO said it," You listened to me and tried to understand where I was coming from before you tried to give me an answer.  Spending time with you allows me to be creative as well as lift my head up from the day to day activities and look at all the things I know about but rarely get the time to do anything about".

I guess the short way of describing it is that people really do like to do business in a relational way.  They want to find people that really listen, really care and are competent at what they do. We do that by spending a little time with them and treating them like human beings.

We help people tell their stories well, to the people that need to hear it in a way that they can hear it.  We help them do it consistently, everywhere and in every way.

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