Business Development

How an embarrassing moment with a client helps you get real feedback on how you’re doing


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He’s a great guy, Rodrigo. He’s a senior exec in a very successful European company. We’ve worked with him for a couple of years and done some good stuff, we’ve earned a place at his table, if you like. Rod’s a demanding, reliable and honest business contact and friend.  So we were over in his city and took him out for a lovely lunch, to talk about a project that we had just completed and (obviously) ask him for his feedback then look for other opportunities to do some more work for him in future- if you don’t ask….

We finished eating, had a cortado coffee and I said ‘My friend, we’d love to be able to do some more work for you given an opportunity….’ and he replied, politely, thus –

“Jim. I’d love to give you some more work, but I don’t really know what else you can do….”

Bloody hell. What a thing for a client to say. And I realised that he’d been introduced to us by a colleague in his Company, and we’d never given him the courtesy of explaining who we were and what we do outside of the narrow scope of the current project we’d been doing together. He really had no idea what else we could do and so couldn’t help us even though he might have wanted to (which he did).

Six weeks later we’ve put that right. We met with him and his team a couple of weeks later, took them through a brief overview of our expertise and recent projects and spent the next 2 hours looking at all of their challenges and seeing how we might be able to help. Work may flow from this process and it may not, but whatever happens in this case, it’s a pertinent reminder how easy it is to assume that our clients know all about us, when the chances are, they don’t.

Jim Harvey

Jim Harvey

Managing Director at The Message Business
Jim is the MD of The Message Business, a company which helps FTSE 100 companies to sell themselves, and their products better. Speech writer, Prezi trainer and designer, coach and consultant, Jim also finds time to be a proud father and husband.
Jim Harvey
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