This post arises out of a discussion posted recently in the Fresh Sales Strategies LinkedIn Group. The very nature of this discussion points to the underlying dysfunction in The CLIENT-SUPPLIER Relationship. Here’s the question and how we at The JoyfulProfit Movement responded.
We all like to talk about all the great things that we’re going to do for customers, but what about the customer’s responsibilities to make the project a success? I’ve found that clearly listing what you need from customers, and the consequences, in terms of time, budget, or overall results is essential for getting everyone on the same page and completing the project successfully. How do you handle this? What do you state as customer responsibilities, and how do you position this to strike the right balance between professionalism and looking too demanding?
Great question – which pokes at an aspect of (what we at The JoyfulProfit Movement believe to be) the dysfunction that often occurs in the current CLIENT-SUPPLIER Relationship. It should naturally be a collaborative endeavour, however, because of the underlying power, control, distrust, manipulation, ego, fear, anticipation and other factors complicating the relationship, the CLIENT-SUPPLIER Relationship is not set up for collaboration success.
Knowing this as the current state of the dynamic (wishing it would be different isn’t helpful), we refer to the “client responsibilities” in this way, both with our own clients and with those we teach:
All of the things that need to happen in order to deliver what we promise to deliver are called “dependencies”. Each dependency is linked back to the agreed-upon goals/outcomes of our work together. And each dependency has the following characteristics:
1. Is clearly identified with what, why, who, when and how.
2. Potential reasons why a dependency may meet with resistance are explored and minimized before they become a barrier to meeting the goal(s).
3. Each dependency has a clear and agreed-upon penalty or consequence if not met, or if delayed.
All of these are the main tenants within the Agreement Based Sales Model® that we work with. These agreements create an explicit understanding and ownership of tasks that need to be completed in order to reach the agreed-upon goal(s). In this way, if there is a breakdown in the flow, there is complete transparency as to where, why and with whom it occurred – and – with the consequences/penalties that naturally follow.
Perhaps most importantly, this explicit way of working exposes people’s “stuff”, their “story”, their “excuses”, their way of being that is not conducive to real collaboration. This then, points to the exact places in your CLIENT-SUPPLIER process chain that need to be addressed and fixed. That is, if you truly are interested in achieving the goals you set out in advance – and we know you are.
This explicit way of collaborating and doing business has the power to innovate the CLIENT-SUPPLIER Relationship. That’s the stuff we’re up to here at The JoyfulProfit Movement.
But…WARNING: It takes courage. And it takes confidence in knowing that this approach produces the fastest way to know if your clients (and prospective clients) are aligned with your core values and those of your business.
We see a better way for business, and we’re taking it on one CLIENT-SUPPLIER Relationship at a time. We wish you good business success!
Thoughts? Comments? Post below, we’d love to understand how you see The CLIENT-SUPPLIER Relationship (and its potential).
The JoyfulProfit Movement