As a consultant, I’m always trying to find ways to provide better service to my clients along with delivering more value for what they pay me. Whether it is a little piece of advice that helps in an area on the periphery of the services I provide or connecting a client with a resource totally unrelated, the focus is always on giving the customer what they need. That got me to thinking about what the customer could do in return to ensure a win-win relationship with consultants or any service provider.
Here are five unquestionable ways to becoming a great client:
Pay Your Bill on Time
Admittedly, this is overstating the obvious, but it’s no fun for service providers to have to chase down payment for services rendered. If you deliver a product or service on time and to spec, you expect to get paid on time, right? Why would you want to make someone do something you wouldn’t do yourself? Paying your bill on time eliminates stress for both parties so do both parties a favor by being on time with your payments.
Don’t Question Methodologies
When you walk into a restaurant, you typically do so with the expectation of receiving quality food cooked appropriately. It’s doubtful that you question the methodologies for preparing your order. The same concept applies to consultants and service providers. If you seek outside assistance, let those professionals do what they do best. After-all, that’s what you hired them to do isn’t it?
Listen to Your Consultant’s Advice
Consultants wear many different hats and stay up to date on many aspects of business which qualifies them to solve many problems. If you seek advice, have the guts to really listen versus dismissing it as inapplicable to your particular situation. You might just solve a problem or improve things more rapidly along with deepening a relationship in the process.
Offer Consistent Constructive Feedback
Consultants get a bad rep for being “know it all" types that don’t listen, but that’s a misnomer with top tier consultants especially those with smaller firms. They genuinely wish to better their business, too so be proactive by offering constructive feedback when an opportunity arises. If handled properly, your feedback will be a welcomed source of useful information.
Send a Testimonial Letter
Any service provider lives off of documented successes as a way to attract new clients. If you encounter a service provider that does a good job, document that success in a testimonial letter to that company. Not only will this validate the accomplishments, but it will help your business generate some positive PR. More often than not, service providers will share testimonials on their website with a link to your site included especially if there are specific quantified results outlined within the letter. Remember, success begets success.
There you have five proven ways to become a good client to a trusted advisor, consultant, or service provider. Try implementing each of them over time where warranted, and please share your success stories with us.
Roger Bauer is Founder and CEO of SMB Consulting, Inc. , a leading small business consulting firm specializing in marketing, product development, strategic planning, SEO, and business analysis. To learn more, point your browser to Business Marketing .