We talked about why trust breaks down with our clients. We shared several ideas about why so many clients struggle to build thriving businesses based on long term client relationships. Today, we share several ideas that help you communicate more effectively with your clients and team members.
I believe that you must communicate with confidence. This sets the tone for building stronger, more trusting relationships with your clients. So how do you communicate to help your client feel more confident in dealing with you? Here are three ways to be a more effective communicator when dealing with clients.
The first way to communicate with confidence is to make sure you keep up with what’s going on in your clients’ markets. Learn how to communicate by using stories and examples. Want people to trust you? Learn to tell stories that the client can see themselves in. The best consultants I know share simple stories to communicate complex ideas.
This means you might have to invest some time in finding great examples you can share conversationally when talking with clients or their teams. Great consultants understand their role in helping their economic buyer tell their stories to many different stakeholders both inside and outside the organization.
The second way to communicate with confidence is to learn how to share numbers and facts in ways that make it easy for your clients to understand what is going on. When I work with large consulting partners of my clients I work hard to help my clients understand what is being said by the consultant. Many times, we work very hard to translate numbers into understandable references that fit the audience we are talking with.
By using current stories and reference points, the client is perceived as a more competent influencer and advocate of new ideas. There is nothing more painful than having an executive who is unable to engage other people when they communicate.
The third way to communicate with confidence is using different styles of communication when speaking to different audiences. If you communicate so everyone on the team is working towards a shared goal, the easier it is to get support for your projects moving forward.
You must be able to incorporate shared credit when talking to people on the team. There is no I in TEAM, but there isn’t an I in consultant, either. Learn how to communicate without getting your ego involved. Learn to reference other people on the team when sharing information on projects. Be willing to congratulate others in front of everyone and only be critical when you’re not on site. This idea can help you get more sleep at night.
Finally, learn to communicate in terms of outcomes and results. Don’t get caught up in process and problems when communicating progress on projects. As importantly, help your consultants who work with the clients on a regular basis in a similar way. It’s hard for some of the client’s attitude to rub off when working on a challenging project. If you want better projects in the future, help your team communicate more powerfully when talking with clients.
If your whole team embraces this communication style, you will get a reputation as the consultants who can deliver no matter how challenging the situation. The best way to get your team to communicate this way is to model this behavior in how you deal with your team. But that’s a whole different blog!
See you next week.