Do Unto Others…..

Your mother probably told you to “treat others the way you’d like to be treated.” But she got it just slightly wrong. The best advisors treat their clients the way the client wants to be treated.

Think about it. Each of your clients is an individual with distinct preferences for communicating, leading people and managing their business (not to mention their advisors).

No, you needn’t bend to every wind. But have you built in enough flexibility in your style and business model to meet the needs of your core clientele? Side benefit: as you adapt better with your clients they in turn want you around more often.

Let’s say you tend to be a flowery communicator. You’ll never use 1 word when 8 will do. But your client is a “just the facts” kind of guy. Are you defaulting to your style or do you try to speak (and write) in language he can digest quickly? And are you paying attention to the verbal and non-verbal cues he is sending? If you make him work too hard, he’s likely to look elsewhere.

Perhaps your client is a hands-on, collaborative leader who enjoys intense team discussions about the issues you’re addressing. You prefer to deal with her one-to-one and chafe when you must engage with group dynamics. Without a little adaptability, you run the risk of your discomfort costing you larger engagements and a bigger playing field.

Or, perhaps you’re a coach and you’ve developed a structured call/fee system as your core business model. What about potential clients who aren’t so structured but could use your services? Are you going to make them adopt your work style? Getting creative to develop profitable new ways to serve this market can bring more clients to your door.

It’s not about changing your business model (or who you are)–it’s about staying flexible.

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