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Know Who You’re Working With


TERIC Business Tips

Owning a business can create numerous challenges – sometimes on a daily basis! One of the challenges that seems prevalent in businesses of all sizes is how to maintain a quality relationship with every client. To make this work you need to know who you're working with.

We are all individuals, with different ideas, values, motivations, and expectations. All of these things affect how we come across and are perceived by others. Add varying communication styles to the mix and sometimes it just seems like we are speaking a completely different language than the client or colleague we are talking with!

Through my work with Karen Nutter, Chief Inspiration Officer of CBK Coaching, I have learned a lot about where the “failure to communicate” stems from, and how to maximize interactions with clients that lead to better relationships and increased success.

As a small business owner who works very closely with clients, (in some cases communicating almost daily) it’s very important that I know how best to relate and share information with clients, colleagues, and vendors. Since marketing professionals and business consultants are a dime a dozen, doing or saying the wrong thing at the wrong time can severely affect my income, as there is a long line of other consultants waiting to take my place. Additionally, I have learned (the hard way) that there are independent contractors and vendors that don’t hold the same professional values I do, which can lead to projects that are done incorrectly, take too long, or produce a myriad of other failures.

With Karen’s guidance, I started asking important clients and potential colleagues to complete one of her online assessments. The assessments provide me with incredibly helpful information about each client, including valuable communication Do’s and Don’ts. In addition, they shed light on each person’s values and behaviors, which I have used to help determine whether or not that client/colleague is going to be a good “fit” for me.

    The use of assessments has made an incredibly positive impact on my business, as they have:

  • Saved a client (or two) – For instance, I had a top-level client to whom I had been providing too much information and not enough socialization. This made him feel like I didn’t care about him as a person, and only wanted his monthly retainer check. After reading his assessment report, I was able to change my approach, and we have developed a great working relationship.
  • Saved me from hiring the wrong people – They looked good on paper and knew what to say, but their assessments told me more about them than a standard resume and interview could ascertain. With some additional interviews and probing, I recognized potential problem areas that would not serve my company or clients. Granted, there is a chance some of their natural tendencies would not surface, but I wasn't willing to gamble on that.
  • Saved me from working with the wrong client – While it’s hard to turn away income, not every client is a good fit. The assessments provided me with items to watch out for – things that I was not comfortable with. This allowed me to ask more specific questions during initial consultations to help me determine if issues were likely to arise. Between the science of the assessments and my gut instinct, I believe I saved myself a lot of headache.
  • Saved my bottom-line – Overall, they helped me identify and develop relationships that positively affect my business, while avoiding negative interactions. Over time, this has proven to save time and make money.

One of the best parts of these assessments is that Karen can combine mine with that of my client/colleague, and provide a report that offers insight as to what makes us tick, and tells us how best to communicate. Sharing that report helps build a foundation of understanding, trust, and respect, and most clients have been incredibly receptive to this process. To be honest, when people aren’t receptive, I see it as a “red-flag."

We live in a technological world, so it only makes sense to use technology that can help us better understand ourselves, and the people around us. If you truly care about making the most of your business relationships, it’s really important that you know who you’re working with so you can interact effectively. In my experience, to do anything less is counter-productive to business success.