Yesterday I was working with the senior team of a creative agency on their team alignment and coherence. This was my third full day session with them over 18 months, so I was very familiar with their nuances as individuals, and the core DNA as a team.

One of the pieces that was outstanding for them was around how to discover what the client really wants.

Few people actually take the time to really understand this.

Most of the time the client will come in with what they think they want.

This is the green area in the image above. What is rarely discussed are all the other elements that the client expects but has not articulated. This may include things like:

*nature of relationship – frequency of contact, mode of contact (email, text, phone), what happens if something goes wrong…

*what they should expect as the relationship progresses

*what exactly they are paying you for and how they might anticipate results

*what are the values you share

*how the client would like you to respond if they choose to not take your advise

*how the client wants to feel during the course of the relationship (respected, understood, heard, seen, included, significant, valued, surprised, delighted etc)

Ideally the conversation is about reaching the place where the service provider is more clear about what the client wants than the client, and therefore is able to not just deliver to expectations but exceed them.

The process to arrive at this place of knowing in entirety what the client wants is not one of simple interrogation. There are many many ways to tune in and ask the right questions to elicit the depth of information needed.

Getting to the real want of a client is rarely done well and then rarely delivered on. Do this and you will separate your service offer from the crowd.

You will know that you have achieved this because the client will visibly relax and move towards a higher level of engagement. In many instanced they will demonstrate relief that they have been heard and understood.

At this point a sale is simply the next step. Done well the client will be delighted to say yes. Now it is up to you to deliver to that, always.

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