MINNEAPOLIS—Why do some people and businesses thrive? In What Clients Love: A field guide to growing your business, Harry Beckwith has collected a broad selection of short stories, quotations and practical tips exploring this very question and shining light on some unexpected answers.
They are contained within the following themes: drawing your blueprints, caring service, a reassuring brand, clear communication, building trust, and your greatest asset. It's amazing how simple many of these ideas are and how easy it is to lose sight of them.
For instance, in a large survey, “responsiveness to phone calls” and “sincere interest in developing a long-term relationship” ranked more significantly to clients than “technical skill” – the ability to devise the best solution.
Clients like being listened to rather than being fed the “best” solution. Why? Because it makes them feel important. Jane Hope, executive VP and design CD at Taxi relayed a similar anecdote in her past RGD Ontario Headstart keynote presentation. When Clearnet was shopping for an agency there were a lot of dog and pony shows but Taxi was the only one that sat with their note pad and listened. (Clearnet has since been bought by Telus, which remains one of Taxi’s largest clients almost a decade later.)
Commitment and passion differentiate but sometimes they're expressed through silence and reflection. The appendix closes with seven pages of questions that will sharpen any business considerably.
Forget the Future
Plan around what you can predict: what people love.
Beware of Common Sense
Common sense goes only so far. Breakthroughs require imagination.
How much excellence must you sacrifice in other areas – work environment, productivity, speed of delivery, profit – to achieve excellence in a particular one?
And what prospects and clients will perceive that excellence? Will it benefit them? Will they care? Will it be worth it to them what you charge?
“I am not seeking perfection. It's unattainable. What I am striving for is professional excellence.” – Tiger Woods. GOOD BEATS PERFECT. Contact: www.beckwithpartners.com
Editor's side note: Ben Weeks is an independent illustrator, artist, writer and designer based in Toronto. You've seen his art work published in everything from The Walrus magazine to Honda ads to PEN Canada's award-winning annual report. He is also extremely well read and will be penning book reviews for DesignEdgeCanada.com. Send us your books or ideas for review and add your comments below. Contact: www.benweeks.ca
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