I often write about what I think are traits that make a great advisor. For an engagement to work it’s also important to have a great customer as well.
Here are some of the traits I think great customers have:
The customer is curious about how to do things better. If I’m going to be successful working with someone, curiosity is an important trait. If the customer is curious there is a good chance they will be willing to at least consider doing things a little differently. For me to help make my client’s life better we must make changes and without curiosity changes aren’t likely to happen.
The customer is coachable. I find there are two parts of work I do with our clients. The first is the consulting part. This is where we figure out what we’re going to do. The second is where we move into a coaching relationship. It’s in the coaching the relationship that change happens. If the client is coachable we are likely to make progress.
The business is very profitable. I find that businesses that aren’t profitable often have owners who aren’t curious and or coachable. To create and maintain a profitable business an owner has to have shown flexibility.
A highly profitable business allows the owner to move their attention from just running the business to concentrating on what would make their business and life better. Without having a fair amount of financial flexibility it’s difficult to create a great result for a client.
The owner wants to build trust and include their employees in their success. I believe trust between an owner and their employees is one of the keys of success. It’s very difficult for us to provide a good outcome if we’re battling trust issues all of the time.
Trust needs to also be built between the owner and us. If an owner is not able to build trust with their employees they are going to have a hard time building trust with anyone else they work with.
The owner should understand the difference between cooperation and collaboration. We find that great customers are also great collaborators. We believe that having a collaborative experience with our customers is one of the keys to success. Understanding that collaboration comes with personal responsibility is one of the keys that makes a good customer/client relationship.
The business is in a good industry for expansion. There are industries where expansion or building a great business is difficult, if not impossible. The business might be a good one for the industry, but the industry itself is flawed. If this is true it’s difficult to help the owner make their life better. We often find ourselves just treading water and never get enough strategic attention generated to make a positive difference.
This is my list of a great customer. What makes yours? If you don’t have one you why not?
I’ve put together a mind map on our client experience. You’ll learn what you can expect from us and we’ll let you know what we expect of you.