Is there any valid, professional connection between Valentine’s Day and our relationships with our clients? Can we apply some kind of Valentine’s Day principle to how we treat the people we serve? Let’s see if we can make a connection, without getting into anything too awkward …
It’s not enough to show that you’re special. You need to show potential clients (and current clients) that you think they’re special. To do that, you’re going to need to spend some time actually thinking about what makes your clients (and the individual employees working for them) unique. Doing so will both guide you in responding to situations that arise with that client, and will provide you with creative opportunities to express your appreciation.
For example, I’ve made it a practice to hand write thank-you notes to clients and colleagues who help me out. I don’t do so just to do it, just to make them feel as if I appreciate them. Artificiality stinks from a mile away. I only write a note when someone has genuinely been helpful to me. Thankfully, I’ve been blessed with clients and compatriots who have generally been very kind and supportive. And so I regularly feel the need to write a note to tell someone why I appreciate them.
This is related to your value proposition (see What makes you special?).
Recovering from heartbreak
In technical communication, I’ve found about half of the practitioners to be good and helpful, and the other half to be unskilled and unproductive. What if you’re seeking to serve a client who has had a bad relationship with a bad technical communicator? How do you help them rebound, in terms of their conception of their business needs?
Potential clients need to see that, due to your experience and training, you can bring a valuable new perspective to their project. They know their terminology and niche better than anyone, but you can (hopefully) help them communicate that content clearly to their customers, employees, and regulators.
What makes you special?
What if everyone wants the client, and is pursuing them? How do you stand out?
You have to be able to clearly articulate your value proposition. Can you handle complicated technical content when others can’t? What’s an example? Can you step into an instructional design project that’s behind schedule, and get it back on track while meeting quality goals? You have to be able to tell a compelling, true story of how you did that. And you have to illustrate consistency in that performance. You have to be Mr. or Mrs. Steady.
Any other ideas on attracting clients?