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Get clients by focusing on their success


Committing to your client's or prospect's success is the most important step in your business development approach. But how can you make your commitment most effective? By translating it into action.


Your commitment to your clients' success and development powers your relationships and your work with them. Clients and prospects will seek to work with you if they justifiably believe you are driven to have them succeed. You choose to commit to their success as a businessperson, and to their development as a businessperson and as a human being.


Then you act based on this commitment to their success and development.

  1. You actively learn as much as you can about the other person, about yourself, and about the relationship the two of you have.

  2. You respond to the other person based on your commitment and your knowledge.


Certain key attitudes will support your ability to stably act to in accord with your commitment.


What do I try to learn?


You try to learn about the other person-- what makes them tick, what makes them flourish, what makes them stumble. You want to know:

  • What they care about

  • Their aspirations

  • What excites them

  • How they like to learn and communicate

  • The perspectives that shape their thinking about the world and their business

  • Barriers that typically get in their way – preventing or slowing movement forward – and which of these are barriers they cause themselves.


You also learn about yourself – what you do that is most valuable to this other person, and what you could do. You pay attention to when your actions seem to be less helpful to the other person, and can even ask them about when they feel you are not being that helpful.


And you learn about the relationship. You and this person (and your colleagues and theirs) are now a team. What patterns of interactions are very productive, and which are less so? What kinds of meetings generate progress, and which don’t?


How do you respond?


You respond in the ways that you believe will be most helpful to the other person. Sometimes you offer your professional perspective, and sometimes you ask them questions. Sometimes you reframe the problem. Sometimes it’s something else. But in every case, your motivation is their success and growth – what is the strategy that will help them the most over the long-term.


What attitudes will I need?


To enable your client to succeed and grow, you need:

  • Patience – Because client success and development and relationship building take time, with growth spurts and plateaus, and even temporary backsliding.

  • Honesty – You need to see your client/prospect and yourself as you are – both the good and the not so good. Reality is your friend.

  • Trust – You need to trust your commitments, and not worry all the time about the outcomes. It is like the old adage about growing a tree. It needs to be watered and fertilized regularly, but checking its growth every day isn’t helpful. Progress is occurring, even if the observable data isn’t always clear on that point.

  • Hope – Your attitudes shape (to some degree) what will happen. Your optimism and positive energy will draw out the others’ optimism and positiveness. Negative energy doesn’t help.

  • Courage – You are sailing into challenging and exciting waters. Your work with your client will lead each of you to big changes. You cannot anticipate how they will change or how you will change as you work together – and that’s a wonderful thing!!


Something to try this week


Think about one of your current clients (it's easier to start with current clients you know than with prospects, and current clients are vital for business development). Devote 15 minutes to documenting what you understand about your client's history, aspirations, perspectives, and barriers. Focus on them as both a person and a businessperson - - because it's both the person and the businessperson that you are dealing with. See what questions and actions this brief exercise suggests.

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