In this edition of Carlozo’s Corner, I want to continue sharing my thoughts and opinions that come from the heart. As a consultant, I live by five principles that are the cornerstone of my professional career. So when I talk about a “relationship” with your consultant…it is a topic that means a great deal and I take great responsibility to deliver a professional experience for all my clients. Before I share my five principles for building a strong client/consultant relationship I want to share my thoughts from my side of the table. All relationships are a two-way street; however, I want to share the perspective and approach that I have come to adopt. So here we go….buckle up.
I have been in the sales/consultant role for well over 20 years. Along the way, I have learned a great deal through failure and success, and have developed great friendships, loyal clients, and a solid network. So, whether you are in sales, a buyer of insurance, or a CEO of the organization – ask yourself this: “Are these principles something I can adopt, and do my current vendors display these qualities? Are these principles something my “internal clients” could use in my organization?
This is essential to gaining trust. A business or personal relationship is built on establishing trust and transparency. What are some ways to gain trust? Setting proper expectations, both the good and not so good is a must. Also, be willing to have a heart-to-heart when needed. Vulnerability is refreshing and clients, friends, and co-workers respect it. Never go away! Stand by in great times and be the rock to help navigate the hard times.
Win by losing
As consultants, we always want to be correct and feel good about our performance. Sometimes this does not happen – so making excuses, giving reasons, or blaming others will erode the relationship over time. It is OK to get it wrong, and like I tell my children, you win by losing! The credibility of taking responsibility builds trust and an unwavering loyalty from your clients.
Leave no stone unturned
As consultants our job is to provide ideas, strategies, and to advocate on behalf of the client. Your client, your employee, and your network want to feel important. They want to know you care. I win business often because my competition has fallen asleep at the wheel and forgotten to care. In my world, it is essential to treat my clients’ spend like it is my own money, my own company, etc. Live by the creed that if your client does not know what is available in the marketplace, how could they possibly take advantage of it? This is a basic service 101 challenge. Having eagerness, a true desire to make a difference, and a passion to serve is essential.
You cannot do it alone
Team is everything. My internal clients are the difference in the service I provide and make what I do become reality. Never miss the opportunity to build up your team and send thank you notes. What you cast out – you get back. If you treat your team with respect, have their back, and collaborate genuinely, they will run through walls for, and with you. If you treat them poorly, it ultimately will reflect on you with subpar team performance. Within your team, empower them and build them up to a reputation of excellence. My brother in-law was an astronaut for NASA. He told a story about how the person mopping the floor at the space station was just as invested in his safety as all the engineers writing code were. Never miss the opportunity to offer appreciation and let people know they make a difference. This internal treatment of others has a direct correlation to service delivery.
Stop selling and start listening
Early in my career, I spent more time selling and although I had some wins, they were short lived. What I learned in sales, networking, and family is that it is not about you. The more you focus on others and that becomes a passion, the rewards will be endless. People, prospects, clients, and spouses do not want to be sold, they want to be heard. Try to see things from their point of view. And make sure you take time, ask real questions, be curious, and be present. When you can master this, the relationship will go to another level, a trust, a bond, and a friendship will develop. It is not about you, it’s about the other person. Make them feel that way.
These are five powerful elements to procuring, developing, and sustaining solid relationships. I would love to hear your thoughts, experiences, and keys to relationship development. I welcome these and other ideas to share with the blog family. My call to action: try embracing one of these in your work this month, and let me know how it goes. Share this with your network, liking it will bring value to people you know, like, and trust; and send me a note. I would love to hear your personal playbook.
Welcome to Carlozo’s Corner, a new weekly installment I’m pleased to contribute to the FENG newsletter. I’m Anthony Carlozo, a client executive at Marsh McLennan Agency (MMA), the employee benefits division of Marsh.
At Marsh McLennan Agency, I work with organizations of all sizes to help them minimize their risk and maximize the value of their benefits programs.
Here I’ll be sharing insights about a current market trend and the strategies I’m seeing employers adopt to adapt to today’s evolving business landscape.