Taken from Rod Colon's regularly published compilation of tips and advice for professionals. Give Clients What They Really Want by Keith Ferrazzi Build real personal relationships with your clients--so they'll reveal to you what they really want, what could really drive their decision but can't be written in an RFP. You may remember the 1990 movie Crazy People in which Dudley Moore plays an advertising executive whose idea to write "honest" advertising copy like the following lands him in an insane asylum: Volvo... they're boxy, but they're safe. Porsche...you can't get laid in one, but you will once you get out. As outrageous as those taglines were, they were successful in the movie (and probably would have been in real life, too) because they spoke to what people really wanted--far beyond what car companies learn from customers in rank-the-features surveys. In these cases, customers didn't just want cars that got them from point A to point B. They bought a Volvo for the peace of mind and the Porsche for a new hope of finding romance. Our organizations face the same problem automakers do. I certainly don't think my firm's marketing and sales consulting services or training offerings are anywhere close to commodities. I believe we have deeper insight, more experience, a watertight methodology.
laundry list of reasons why we can provide value no one else can. I
bet you feel the same way about your core products and services. But
the truth is that many other organizations claim to have the same
things we have. And if you delude yourself thinking that what's on
your website and printed marketing collateral is significantly
different from what others have written down, then you're full of
That's why we have to build real personal relationships with our
clients--so they'll reveal to us what they really want, what could
really drive their decision but can't be written in an RFP. Then,
and only then, do we get opportunities to offer generous solutions
to their problems that convince them to purchase our core products
You have to approach them as people as well as professionals. Show
them you're human by letting your guard down. Share your passions
and learn about theirs. See yourself as a combination of consultant,
life coach, therapist, and friend. Ask insightful questions,
actively listening for what really motivates or frustrates them
personally. Then, when you have a deep understanding of what they
really want, try to bundle a solution that, first and foremost,
solves one of their problems and, ideally, includes your product or
This method might require you to find outside partners to deliver--
yet another reason to develop larger networks of friends. In fact,
the first couple things you "sell" to someone may have nothing at
all to do with your own product.
For example, I frequently strengthen relationships with clients by
aiding their personal career pursuits, entirely separate from what
they're procuring from my firm. When I learned that one of my
clients ultimately wants to be in politics, I got him invited to
join an advisory council to Bill Clinton comprised of people under
age 40. When another client confided in me his desire to be an
actor, I took him to dinner with a leader of William Morris Agency.
A third client was struggling with earning the respect of his CEO,
so in addition to the consulting services we provided his
organization, we coached him personally on how to leverage the work
we were doing and even just how to behave in the CEO's staff
meetings to build the credibility he needed to become a key player
in the executive team.
Another person who has a knack for giving clients what they really
want is Ty Pugh, a Seattle-based financial advisor. The financial
products and services he has to sell are true commodities. You can
get the same stuff from many other places. But Ty is building
lasting relationships for revenue growth by providing clients
additional investment opportunities in real estate, independent of
his core offerings.
After Ty made a personal investment in a waterfront resort community
in North Carolina, he generously made the opportunity available to
many others. He convinced the developers to lease a jet to fly
investors from Seattle to the east coast. He brought in former
professional football player Nesby Glasgow to serve as the real
estate agent and to lend some cachet to the deal. And he invited 42
investors to check out a new investment opportunity, take a free
trip to a beautiful resort community while hobnobbing with a pro
athlete, and get to know a whole bunch of like-minded investors.
This amazing demonstration of how he's much more than your average
financial advisor won Ty clients in the developers, the real estate
agent, and some of the investors. You, too, can make your business
boom if you find and deliver what clients really want before selling
your core product.