Is the client or customer always right? What do you do if a client asks you to provide a service to satisfy a want – yet you know that isn’t what they actually need?
This week I have had some great discussions with clients, with whom we have a strong and trusted relationship. They are happy for us as a business to challenge their thinking and coach them towards the best actions to help solve their needs – which is often very different to the initial ideas they had in mind (their wants).
But what if it is a prospective client, with whom you have not yet had the chance to build a relationship, and to demonstrate your competence, credibility and compatibility. If you know what they want is not really going to solve their challenge and/or create value for their business – and have a good idea of what they really need, what do you do?
Recently I had a conversation with a prospective new client which (to summarise in a very concise manner) went something like this:
Them: “We really want to invest in development for our people, as we haven’t done much in the past. We have a blank page really, but the partners have mentioned offering programmes and workshops in Leadership, Management, Business Development and developing better communication skills”.
Us: “Ok…great that you are looking to help your people grow. A few questions (I actually sent a lot more via email!):
Them: “Hmmm those questions are probably a step too far at the moment. We are just looking for a high quality supplier to come in and run some great training programmes. This is what you do isn’t it? You know best. We have been talking to a couple of other providers who have given us their ‘off the shelf’ programmes which look perfect. So, could you send us some details of what your programmes would look like?”.
The thing is, we know that offering these solutions (to solve their want) will offer next to nothing in terms of return on investment.
Without clarity around the basic questions we asked, and without some of the fundamental steps we outlined in the series of articles we recently published, explaining just why ‘Corporate ‘Training’ isn’t working’ – then these ‘programmes’ would be doomed to failure.
So.. the options are:
What would you do?
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If you would like to discuss how we could help you in improving business performance, and individual and collective people performance, please contact Kate on 01892 610060 to arrange a meeting with one of our expert consultants. No charge, just a chat over a coffee!