No thinking. Act!

Dan Marino’s quickness as an NFL quarterback was described by one of his teammates in the following words:  “The amount of time where he sees a target and then his mind tells him to throw is a short span…he sees it, it’s gone. There’s no thinking.”

Being a leader of client-focused initiatives and activities requires a high energy level.  Getting things done quickly may not be a daily requirement for effectiveness in serving your clients, but to anticipate client needs and stay ahead of issues takes a quick work pace.  From my experience, those professionals who move projects down the field best are those who are actively engaged and taking action.

If you are the type of person who prefers a lot of time to think about the plan of action before you respond to requests, you might have a low work pace.  You may not make many mistakes, but you’re at risk of missing opportunities.

Want to pick up the pace and be quicker on your feet?  Do what Marino did; learn new skills.  He started jumping rope. Here are a couple of ropes for you to jump:

1.  Trust yourself, your knowledge and experience, to act first and think later.  There will be time for analyzing your actions later and you can make adjustments.

2.  Set ambitious and urgent timelines to decisions and projects; and, hold yourself accountable.

3.  Listen to your gut and act on your clients behalf.  NOW!


Client Retention Requires Assertiveness

Assertiveness is a critical personality trait for maintaining client focus.  Assertive people have a forceful presence and a natural ability to advocate for the client.  They effectively influence and direct client engagement team members to serve the client well.

Assertiveness gives you the advantage on client retention.  Assertiveness does not mean being aggressive.  We are talking about being confident and having a forceful personality without being confrontational.

According to a recent findings from the CCH Accounting Firm client survey, most of the top 10 reasons clients leave are related to assertiveness.  Reasons like the firm not checking in regularly, failing to efficiently provide requested information, not keeping client up to date on regulations and delivery of quality services, usually are the result of low assertiveness.

Excellence in client service takes initiative and commitment to lead others in a responsive and confident manner.

If you are less assertive than you should be or too low key in serving clients, consider making a few changes.

1.  When the client challenges you, don’t back down too quickly.  Ensure them that you understand the issues and respond confidently and efficiently to their requests.

2.  Practice being more vocal and persuasive with peers and staff.

3.  Offer your ideas first.  Don’t hesitate or wait for others.

4.  Check in with your client regularly even if you do not have a specific agenda.  Ask them about new developments in their business and show interest.


Choose your clients carefully

You’ve got to be positive about people if you want to possess a strong client focus. Surround yourself with great clients and you’ll do well.  Attract the wrong clients and not even God can help you win.

If you’re a person whose skeptical about the motives and agenda of others, you may be suspect of ‘client-first’ policies and practices. Believe it or not, it’s the dominant, results-oriented professionals who fear being taken advantage of most.  The best way to counterbalance this tendency is to choose the right clients.  Select clients you can trust and enjoy helping succeed.

One more thought on being positive about people.  Giving others the benefit of the doubt, and taking the risk of being taken advantage of, makes life richer and more fulfilling.  Playing it safe is quite boring, actually.  Give your best to others and you have a high probability of getting their best in return.