Eight Ways to Motivate Your Clients and Yourself

And Stay a Step Ahead of the Competition

1. Learn how to handle money in a trusting manner.

For small-to-medium jobs, I like to pay my vendors in advance. After receiving the full check in the mail, they become more conscientious, more willing to please, and they appreciate the confidence and trust inherent in that action.

2. Teach yourself and those around you.

Everyone knows the old saying about teaching someone to fish. Doing so in a business environment, however, represents a self-sacrificing act because, theoretically, after teaching someone how to do your job, it means they no longer need you. See the above item regarding trust.

3. Measure their progress.

Clients always try to maintain a healthy skepticism about their vendors, and that due diligence represents good business practice. Service providers, as a result, assume the burden of showing how their actions and advice is impacting their clients. Month-by-month measurements and the establishment of benchmarks help to accomplish this.

4. Help your client compete with others.

It always helps to show how your client is leaving the competition in the dust, thanks to your help. Ask your client about their rivals, evaluate them and devise ways to surpass them. While measuring your client’s progress in the previous item, use the same tools to measure their competitors.

5. Create a superior product, infrastructure or position.

In addition to helping your client compete, you need to do so as well. Keep up to date with the latest developments in your field and offer cutting-edge services as they become available. When you provide something new, make sure your client knows about the innovation.

6. Achieve recognition of their efforts.

Awards, publicity and accolades for your client reflect favorably upon you, especially if you have enabled them either through your efforts or by directly applying for them.

7. Provide a long-term plan.

A structured program disciplines clients to use your services in a regular manner, helps them become more productive and prevents wasting time through inaction or when other matters intrude upon their attention. A long-term plan combined with the benchmarks suggested in item #3 helps to keep clients moving forward for everyone’s benefit.

8. Be consistent.

Clients need predictability. If you tell them one thing today and something else in a month, they become uncertain about your grasp of your field, even if the reason involves a change in underlying realities. If something is subject to change, your clients need to be informed about that in advance. Caveats are generally a good idea in these cases.

Many of the above items may seem like basic common sense, but you would be surprised by the failure of many entrepreneurs to follow them. Most important, you must remember that clients and vendors are people, subject to their own strengths and weaknesses, and wanting to make their business relationships work. You need to connect with them on multiple levels, be honest and genuinely want to help them succeed. If you do, everything else will fall into place.