What Do Your Customers Think of You?
"I've been in thousands of meetings in which somebody’s future was being decided. And it may shock you to learn that in these meetings, decisions about your future are likely to be made in the most casual way after somebody expresses an opinion about you. An instant assessment of you in one of these moments means more to your career than a foot-high stack of performance appraisals in your personnel file."
Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB
Those are the words of David D’Alessandro, chairman of the board, Encore US. His words validate the sentiments of Dr. Sheldon Nix, who defines branding as: "Your brand is what people think of you WHEN they think of you." Today's tip is not about building your client’s brand, it’s about identifying and building YOUR brand. If your future work with clients is decided when they talk among themselves without you present, this is important stuff.
As with clients, the starting point for building a brand is identifying your current brand. What do people think of you when they think of you? We ask our clients lots of questions as part of or work with them, but one we don't often ask is "How are we doing?" Remember, a brand is what people think of you when they think of you, so it stands to reason we should regularly ask our clients what they think of us.
The end of the year is a great time to conduct reviews with your clients. These reviews often include results generated, business growth, other challenges and opportunities to be addressed. These reviews rarely include questions about our level of service and how easy it is to do business with us and our company. We live under the false security blanket belief that they must like us, or they wouldn’t continue to do business with us. We hope you'll agree that this can be the year to change that.
Inspired by regular reader Laurie May, we have created a template that can be used with your clients to discover what your current brand is. We've divided the brief survey into two sections: your company and you personally. We focus on the ease of doing business with you and your company, responsiveness, accessibility, marketing knowledge and more. While it may be a little scary to ask these questions if you’re doing it for the first time, we think many will be pleased with the survey results and how happy their clients are. For those who aren’t happy, it's better to know now while you can address any areas of deficiency rather than waiting till they cancel and wonder why.
If you would like a copy of the template, just email me here. As always, if you choose to use it, the only thing we ask is that you share your results with us.
Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.