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Client engagement: The REAL technique

29th Jan 2010
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The key to business success is achieving a more intimate relationship with your clients. Mindy Gibbins-Klein explains how to do this.

If you connect with your clients and become part of their daily rituals, you will have a bigger impact and more success. REAL thought leaders know how to do this.

REAL is an acronym because REAL thought leaders tend to do four things really well: they achieve significant reach in their target market, they do so with excellent engagement, they become recognised authorities in their field and they have sustained impact or longevity in the minds of their clients.

Longevity is a tricky thing to achieve, especially in this climate of overstimulation and saturation of people’s attention. There are three keys, however, which, if implemented successfully, will help you stay in someone’s mind longer. They are recency, relevance and reference. So, it turns out your teachers were right – it pays to master the three Rs.
Recency simply means ensuring your market hears from you often enough so that you are always top of mind. People seem to have a shorter span of attention, which means they need more reminders. When someone has a need for what you do, chances are greater that they will think of you if you have contacted them within the past few days, rather than weeks or months earlier.
People also only seem to have time and attention for things that are relevant, which is why thought leaders make such an impact. They get the client where it hurts and offer insights on his most urgent issues. Information overload has forced many people to filter out most of the ‘noise’ that arrives in their inbox and even face-to-face. For example, at a networking meeting, one survival mechanism is to remember only those people who said something you could relate to.
The goal of effective communication is intimacy. Clients want to get to know you, the person, not just a corporate entity. Many small business owners make the mistake of over-marketing their company brand and under-marketing themselves. It may feel uncomfortable to share personal information with your market, but if you think about it, social media is making this more and more commonplace. (This is why the younger generation is finding it easier to do business in this way).

You can fight it if you like, only talking about business and putting on a corporate façade, but remember, your clients want to feel like they know you. The best ways to do this are to build rapport by speaking their language and being conversational. Don’t you prefer this style too? Real thought leaders seem to get into the other person’s head and then boldly lead them to the solutions to their biggest concerns.

Mindy Gibbins-Klein is founder and managing director of The Book Midwife®, co-founder and director of Ecademy Press business publishing and a highly acclaimed international speaker. She is the author of four books, including 24 Carat BOLD: The Standard for REAL Thought Leaders (£10.99, Ecademy Press).



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