Yesterday, during lunch with my friend Tracy, We discussed hiring and firing clients. She told me that she was recently speaking to someone and asked her friend what she looked for in a potential client. Her colleague responded with one word: KINDNESS. We both thought this was pretty profound. She didn’t give a company size, industry or any other of the typical target market identifiers. Her number one criteria for working with a new client was that they have to be nice.
Some people might be thinking, “I’m hiring you, doesn’t it matter if you are nice? I’m the client, I’m paying, I can act anyway I wish.” Sure you can. Sure, many companies will happily take your money and provide top notch service with a smile. But will they refer business to you? Will you be the first person that they call when they hear about a deal on a complementary product or service? Will they keep you around when their business grows?
Relationship building is not just important when we are trying to win business, but it is equally important when we are consumers of products and services. Do you actively refer business or look for opportunities for vendors who treat you right? Do offer advice to your vendors on how they can improve their business or suggest products or services that they should offer? Do you call them on their birthdays or congratulate them on their achievements? Are you nice to them?
In business, kindness has to go both ways. Everyone knows (or I hope they know) that being nice to your customers is an important component to keep their business. But, how many people realize how important it is to be a good client.
Think about the vendors and service providers that you deal with in business and in your personal life. Are you kind to them? How can you help build better relationships with those people and companies who help you achieve your goals. Are you a good client?