What the relationship really looks like
How many more times does this have to happen? You travel to see a client and they stiff ya! They bump you or give you five minutes instead of the agreed thirty. It can be frustrating, disrespectful, and simply bad for business. This also happens with internal customers across departments. It happens daily in shops, cafes, and all sorts of events.
When we are selling or serving to a client, there is a perceived power imbalance. As we are trying to win (or retain) their business, it seems they have all the power in the dynamic.
This is incorrect.
When serving a customer, we are the ones with the skills, knowledge, and tools to solve their problems. We are the expert. We have the solutions to their pain points. It is when the customer does not see this and understand their role in the process that we get ‘stiffed’.
A customer will remain a customer if we continue to communicate with them from a sub-servient position. Taking a larger investment in the communication, being super-clear on what our expectation is of the client, as well as guiding them through their role in the process. This last bit is the part that takes the situation from vendor-customer to partner-partner. We are partners and, in any partnership, both parties need to have well defined roles with standards of behaviour.
Being clear and assertive throughout all communications takes this nonsense of time wasting and posturing off the table.
Let’s get some work done. Provide value. And deepen our partnership!