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Clients work with professionals whom they trust. Building ttrust is an ongoing process. Here are 10 wyas to build trust with both old and new clients.

Ten Ways to Build Client Trust

Ten Ways to Build Client TrustClients work with professionals whom they trust. Building trust is an ongoing process. Here are 10 ways to build trust with both old and new clients.1. Keep your agreements with your clients If you promise delivery on a particular day, make sure to deliver when it was promised. Even something as small as the time you have scheduled an appointment is an agreement. Each time you break an agreement with a client, you break the trust.2.Create realistic client expectations Help the client to understand exactly what you will do for him or her. Put boundaries around what is included in your service and what is not. What will create extra charges? How and when will you be billing the client? Living up to the expectations you create helps your clients to take you at your word.3.Help client to understand the process If your client understands how you and your office works the client can then know what to expect and when to expect it. 4.Explain your plan and strategy Not only does the client need to understand your office procedure but also what the plan and strategy is for his/her particular case. This will help client to know what to expect and when to expect it. Trust comes when the client feels confident and comfortable with the plan and the strategy.5.Never over promise It is tempting to promise whatever the client requests without consulting a schedule or asking if it is doable. Over promising often causes broken agreements and thus broken trust.6.Carefully explain the clients role When a client is clear on what his or her role is then the client gets clear on what progress can be made without his or her involvement and what needs his or her input before moving on. Getting really clear on what the client needs to do to move his or her case forward, helps you work as a team and builds trust.7.Discuss potential pitfalls Nothing disturbs the trust of a client more than when something unexpected happens. (If it is good of course you can celebrate! Whew!) Guard against something negative happening as a surprise by discussing the potential pitfalls with the client.8.Review the agreement in detail Any agreements that the client is going to have to make should be discussed in detail. Trust is built over a long period of time but it can be broken easily. A surprise that results from an agreement the client made but is unaware of breaks that trust quickly.9.Avoid making the client feel stupid No one likes to feel stupid. If clients feel that you think they are stupid they will no longer entrust you with their ideas or thoughts. Clients who dont feel valued by the professional may stop trusting that person. Professionals probably dont set out to make a client feel stupid. In fact it may be an attitude, an inadvertent comment, or a look that gives the client that impression. Be aware of your inner thoughts. They show up without your noticing. Use careful language.10.Dont allow interruptions at meetings If you take interruptions during meetings with clients it makes them feel they are not important to you. Eventually you erode the good will and trust that you had with them.

Fixed Price Contracts For First Time Customers

Fixed Price Contracts For First Time Customers

Fixed price contracts are the best and safest method when working with a customer for the first time. This puts the customer as ease and it reduces your risk of not being paid at all. With this first fixed price contract your main objective is to establish the willingness and ability to pay. After that you can build the relationship.It's important to note that when you establish a fixed price contract you do that with a customer - not a client. Until a customer has proven that they'll be with you through the duration they are a transaction related customer. They are not a long-term client yet. When you first start out with somebody if you set up a price fixed contract the customer will be a lot more receptive because they perceive lower risk. This perception may mean a lower margin for you because your fixed price contract is less per hour than you normally charge. Don't worry about this. The more important objective here is to turn this customer into a client after you have established the willingness and ability to pay.Fixed Price Contract ConditionsDoing price fixed contract work is only viable if you have very a defined project. It is very difficult to do with an emergency service call. You don't know what you're walking into. Keep that in mind. Don't do foolish things like committing yourself to spend three days on a server rebuild for a fixed rice contract of $250. Include in every fixed price contract two or three sentences that explain that it is subject to credit approval. If you grant credit, always leave yourself an out if they refuse to give you a credit application or the credit application is incomplete. This first fixed price contract is the riskiest. Because of this you want to do things that are in your own best interests. The Bottom Line on "Fixed Price Contract" sThe key thing to remember with fixed price contracts is that you are more likely to get stuck with the first bill with a new customer than anywhere else. Use fixed price contracts as way to entice new customers and to lower your risk of nonpayment. Your goal is to turn these fixed price contract customers into long term clients but first you need to know how willing and able they are to pay their bills.Copyright MMI-MMVI, Computer Consulting 101. All Worldwide Rights Reserved. {Attention Publishers: Live hyperlink in author resource box required for copyright compliance}

Christian Services: Service or Using Others?

Christian Services:  Service or Using Others?

I know a good Christian lady who cuts hair for a living. Thats her occupation. Thats how she makes a living. She is very good at it. Why is it that when Christians come to her shop they expect a discount just because they go to the same Church that she attends? There are some who refer to this practice as a believer discount. Now I am not opposed to finding discounts and deals, but not at someone elses expense. If someone decides that they want to give me a haircut at no charge, or half price, out of love, then thats fine. But to just expect that Christian businesses are supposed to give discounts to all the brothers and sisters is not love. Its actually an indication of a poverty mind set. Ill explain that later.For me to think that my Christian brothers and sisters are obligated to give me a cheaper price is selfish and it takes money away from them. Suppose you couldnt find a Christian for the service or product you needed? What would you do? You would end up paying someone the price they charged. I know some Christians who are very good at doing car repairs and some of them even do it as a business. And hardly a week or two goes by that another Christian asks them for help in fixing their car, expecting to pay little or nothing for services rendered. That is very selfish and, again, an indication of a poverty mentality.Heres a startling thought: pay your Christian brother or sister more than they normally charge! Now thats a concept that has love written all over it. Why would you do that? First of all it is indeed a blessing to have a Christian provide a service or a product. If they operate their business with integrity and love, that love will have an impact on my life. Secondly, by believing Gods promises of abundance you can go over and beyond and give more to the person who is providing you the service or product. That increases their prosperity. But, if you have a poverty mentality, you are always looking for someone to charge you less for everything and expecting any Christian to give you a discount. Why not believe Gods promises of prosperity, receive His abundance, and then share that abundance with others?Now I would rather pay a Christian for a product or service, but there is another side to this coin. Just because I am a Christian does that mean I have to find another Christian to provide my products and services? Suppose I know a Christian who could get the job done, but not with the quality I require? Am I obligated to hire a Christian anyway and then have inferior work done? Some say that would be the Christian thing to do. I say, No. If I hire you to fix my car I am expecting you to know what you are doing and to do it right the first time. If that doesnt happen then I have wasted the money God gave me to steward, not to mention the time that I have lost. Perhaps the Christian thing to do would be to be honest and tell someone that their work is not the quality that it could be. Instead of feeling obligated to hire them, why not give them some money so that they can get the training they need so they can do quality work? Feeling sorry for someone and then having them do a job that they or someone else will need to re-do it is not helping my brother or sister.As a final thought, why shouldnt Christian businesses be the best businesses on the face of the earth? That takes a lot more than just having a Christian sounding name. It means quality work. It means integrity and honesty. It means operating biblical principles of giving more value. Having a Christian business reflects back on our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, whether we own a business or are simply employed by someone, the Christian thing to do is to work heartily, ethically, and honestly with the love of God. Our light should so shine that everybody, Christians and non-Christians alike want our products and services.

A Brief Education on Education Verification

A Brief Education on Education Verification

It is generally believed by those in our trade that while employment candidates may embellish their employment tasks and positions, they will downright lie about their education. Yes, that person interviewing with your Human Resource Manger and other relevant executives, the one looking presentable and acting so bright and articulate may well be inventing his education. In most cases your candidates claim to a higher education is not necessarily a total invention. He may have in fact actually enrolled in the university listed on the resume. He just didnt graduate from that school. Or any other school, for that matter. But then there are those, a notable amount of employment candidates who have engaged in what we term a ghost attendance. That is to say they not only failed to graduate from the school, but they never enrolled at all. Why they chose that particular school as their fictional place of graduation is anyones guess. But enough candidates lie about graduating from schools they may have never seen, save for photos on the Internet. The HR person should always consider the ghost attendance a very real possibility. As to which schools the job candidates may claim to have graduated, the selection is varied and sometimes darkly amusing. Some may choose the smaller and more out of the way schools as their fictional alma maters. They may select something arty and prestigious, one of those schools you may hear about but not know much about.. Or your candidate can take obscurity in another direction by listing on their resume some grievously remote or sub-par institute of higher learning that few ever even heard of.. There is certain logic to making such claims. By listing say, an obscure Mid-Western school or esoteric New England college, as his place of graduation, your candidate may believe he helps substantiate his credibility. Even the more astute HR person may well determine no one would actually lie about graduating from a Reed College, in Oregon, Amherst, in Massachusetts, or Lake Forest, in Illinois? Or for that matter as a defense against low self-esteem, who would dare boast of graduating from one of the legions of North Western Eastern Slippery Eel Teachers College in the far corner of the middle of nowhere? So, the thinking goes, you may accept their claim at face value and never bother to check it out. Other candidates will take the alternate route. Most in fact, will choose the larger schools, believing their names and alleged graduation dates may well get lost in the bureaucratic shuffle. Of course, if they did attend for awhile, they hope their registered enrollment may mistakenly be interpreted as proof of graduation. What they lack in education, they make up for in audacity. Well, sort of. Finally, there are the no degree degrees. These are the phony degrees awarded for life experience and are not representative of attendance or graduation from any legitimate or accredited college. They are totally bogus. But they are popular. The more enterprising among the duplicitous can purchase these degrees online for anywhere from fifty bucks to several hundred dollars. The graduate degrees are a little pricier than the mere Bachelors but they are available from any number of phony universities. Some of them even look impressive; provided you dont look try to find the schools physical address on the Internet. Before you become too upset or overly suspicious, bear in mind that those who lie about their degrees comprise a minority of employment candidates. More often than not your candidate actually is who he says he is and did attend and graduate from the college listed in his resume. But bear in mind the operative phase here is more often than not. With that in mind, think of the ways you may cause embarrassment and even litigation if you mistakenly hire someone who has obtained only a fictional degree. It may be true that lacking a Bachelors degree in certain disciplines may be irrelevant. There is a saying, for example, that a good sales person is born and not made, or something to that affect. And while that may be true in certain disciplines, in more than a few someone better have the qualifications afforded through the proper education. It may well be your new hire with his fictional degree may genuinely lack the skill sets required for the job. This reality can cause all sorts of problems and even lead to catastrophe in its myriad forms. You have allocated time and money to his hire. You have distracted your work force, at least those who have conducted the various interviews. In hiring this person, you may have rejected a candidate who was truly qualified but is no longer available. You must now allocate additional resources to hire someone else. Such mistakes can detract from employee morale as well as your bottom line. Additionally, by hiring someone not qualified by virtue of lacking his degree, you are jeopardizing your relationship with clients. You may have assigned this person to a client, and now your employee has screw things up through is lack of qualifications. This can make your client extremely unhappy. The client may demand compensation. They may even threaten a lawsuit. This is not only costly, but embarrassing as well. If you think this doesnt happen, you had better think again. These are not the stories executives like to brag about over lunch. These are the stories that are whispered, and the whispering is far more ominous and damaging to your business. Lets face it, if your failure to perform due diligence causes proves detrimental to your client, then you will be held accountable. You will look foolish and cheap. You may also be looking for another client to replace the one who left you. The moral to this story is that your Human Resources Management must check out everyone, no matter how trustworthy they sound. It is essential to have a pre-employment screening program in place and to include education verification as part of that program. The few bucks you spend up front to verify your candidates graduation can save you plenty in money and time as well as and potential litigation and embarrassment. Those who win contracts with major corporations, especially technology or defense and security related industries will find these companies mandate background checks for everyone who will be working on the project. This includes "education verification" . Often they will insist on verification of all degrees and not just the highest. When conducting education verifications here are some things to keep in mindColleges and Universities typically provide verification either in-house or through the National Student Clearing House or another third party service. If the University is registered with a third party service, the degree can often be verified that day. Third party services will charge a fixed rate for access verification. Some background checking agencies will add on to this rate while others will pass it on at cost.Typically, degrees are verified by background checking services within a couple, few days. The process may take longer if your candidate has either graduated some years back or is not listed in the database.Verification may also take longer over the holidays, semester break or the summer. Be prepared to allow for more time for verification.Verification from foreign universities inevitably will take longer than domestic verification. Typically, the rates for foreign verifications are significantly higher than charges for a domestic university. Be prepared to pay more and wait longer for the foreign verification.Some schools will ask for your candidates disclosure and release form before issuing the verification.When providing your candidates information to the University or third party service, it is best to include the years attended, the year graduated, the actual degree and major, and for large schools the campus where your candidate attended.If your candidate is a female, be sure the information you submit reflects the actual name with which your candidate graduated. Sometimes your candidate applies for the position under her married name and fails to provide her maiden name, the name she used while attending school.This may also apply for foreign students. Sometimes foreign candidates will change their names after graduation, to make them more accessible in the American workplace. But they may have attended school, using their formal name. Your candidate is known to you as Ben, but in school he was still Bao. This can complicate the verification process.If the school or the third party service is having a difficult time verifying y our candidates degree, they may request a facsimile of his diploma or final transcripts. Be sure to keep your verification process uniform. You may decide to verify all degrees or only the highest degree obtained. Whatever you do for one candidate, you should do for all the rest.Make sure your background checking service stays in front of any complications that may arise in the verification process. Establish and maintain fluid communication channels so that the service can keep you informed and request additional information when needed. Remember if for some reason and after all due diligence you are unable to verify your candidates degree, it probably means he never obtained one. They may try to talk their way out of it, but hold firm and insist they provide any information that has been requested. There is nothing exceptional about this information for anyone who has truly graduated from an accredited college or university. If they cant provide that information, you may want to look for another candidate. Remember the axiom that if they lie about their degree then theyll lie when on the job didnt become accepted wisdom for no reason. Check them out before you hire.

Sure Fire Ways To Drive Customers Away!

Call it a blind spot. Call it regimented thinking. Call it the-way-we-have-always-done-it. But by any name, there are actions and practices that far too many businesses engage in that can unknowingly drive customers away. When I observe such practices, I move from being angry to just plain sad. Really sad. Because the truth of the matter is that no one CONSCIOUSLY set out to ruin my day. No one sat in a board room and dreamt up procedures that would have us leaving in droves. No one woke up and said, "I can hardly wait to make you miserable." It happened "because". Because the truth of the matter is that it takes courage to stop and ask the critical question: Does this serve our customer? Our member? Our community?We all "know" the rules of service. But sadly, sometimes we don't take the time to think through just what our actions might be do or say to the customer. Here are some actions guaranteed to drive folks from the doors of an enterprise. It's time for all of us to sit up and notice!Over promise and under deliver.Bring people to the conference with the promise of cutting edge material. Lure attendees into thinking that the hotel is a four-star marvel. Tell customers that they'll have all the material they need in three days. Promise the meeting planner that the press kit will go out overnight. Then sit back and watch. Really watch. If it isn't true 100% of the time, it's a bait and switch promise.Take the idea of "cutting edge material". I've attended conferences in which the only cutting edge was the serving knife on a buffet table. Same ideas. Same methodology. Same format. Get a clue! Shake it up. Be provocative. If we say it, we better deliver.How about that four-star hotel? Brochure looks great. The conference walk through is stunning. But then, could that ghastly-looking luncheon plate REALLY be the same chicken marsala you were served in the tasting? And, how about the fact that the hotel "forgot" to tell you that the major dining room would be undergoing renovation. Yikes! The three-day guarantee. If you can't deliver it all the time, it's not true! Now, perhaps Three Day Blinds has reversed its practices, but years ago, I ordered window coverings for our new house. My mother was coming to visit us over Christmas and I needed shades. Alas, the third day came and went. I discovered that only "some" shades are three-day, not all. Beware of the implied promise. Never walk the talk.The brochure for the conference said, "a celebration of members", a "community that listens." Too bad it didn't play out in reality.The setting is New Orleans. A couple thousand folks have gathered for the "celebration" and the "community". Alas, the reality is another fact. I discover that people are invited to parties based upon their status in the organization. The luncheon session I am addressing has some 50 "important people" file into the banquet hall and take their places on a stage that is three tiers deep. Talk about a "we"/ "they" set up. I am told, "This is the way we have always done it." The intent to "honor" these 50 people was to have hundreds watch them eat and to also set up the boundary between the "us" and the "them".Come on. There are a few more creative ways to showcase the "us" that is far more inclusive, educational, and community building than a camera shot of folks eating. I end up addressing an audience while have my back to 50 plus people. It's rude, off-putting, and the exact opposite of what the organization, in all good intentions, wishes to create.Our lives had better mirror the words we use and the beliefs we profess to all. Otherwise, we're merely impersonators. I watched a very well known speaker who specializes in relationship building turn into a snarling, demanding customer who treated the flight attendants like personal servants. How many disbelievers were created on that day? Make technology your primary form of communication.Make sure there's a voice mail doom loop from which someone will never emerge to actually speak with a live human. Conduct all business via e-mail, assuming that a message sent is a message received. And while you're at it, hit send as soon as a message is written. These three practices can doom any business relationship. Amazing isn't it: having a person answer the phone can actually be a competitive advantage! How easy do we make it for people to do business with us via the telephone or even our web site? I tried to book a reservation in a lovely hotel, only to be treated to a lovely online tour of the property without ever finding a contact number!E-mail is great for data but not perfect for relationship building or critical pieces of information. In fact, often the E in e-mail stands for escalation and error. Two colleagues almost became bitter enemies over rapid fire e-mails that had the sting of a viper and the warmth of the Arctic. Neither thought to pick up the phone and talk things out. Thus, the lop-sided "chats" turned into internecine warfare. Talk about beating folks up!!I discovered fascinating information about a client when we talked through my normal pre-program survey rather than depend upon an electronic transmission. I had thought my online survey was a time saving device. Instead, what it became was a gatekeeper, preventing me from digging deeper into an issue. Likewise, multiple choice answers on written or online customer service surveys will never result in information of substantive depth. Forget the wisdom of the outer circle.In organizational life, there's always an "inner circle" of power and control. Boards of Directors wield it. So do powerful departments. When practices and policies come only from the inner circle, the rank and file is not only unheard, but can turn its back on the organization. Members leave associations when they feel discounted and "not in the know". Never say "thank you".Mother was right when she made us kids write notes to relatives after Christmas. It's a forgotten habit that can go a long way to letting people feel appreciated. Likewise, pick up the phone and call a client or member who has a complaint and THANK THEM for making that complaint known. You'll discover a huge dividend in goodwill after they recover from the shock of your call.Three Practices to KEEP customers and members. Common courtesy isn't common. Be uncommon. Service is an unnatural act. It takes emphasis away from ourselves and gives it to others. Be unnatural.Time is the only non-renewal resource. Never waste people's time.Hope I haven't wasted yours! (c) 2005, McDargh Communications. Publication rights granted to all venues so long as article and by-line are reprinted intact and all links are made live.

6 Tips for Keeping Your Cool When Customers Get Hot

1. Be assertive - not aggressive or passive. My definition of assertion is simple: "Say what you mean, mean what you say, and don't be mean when you say it." Let this rule guide your conversations with all customers and you will always be confident, cool, and in control AND you'll always be professional. 2. Speak more slowly. You'll be amazed at how much more clearly you can think and how much control and confidence you experience when you consciously slow down your rate of speech. Speak slowly and methodically when your emotional triggers are launched and you'll maintain poise during difficult conversations. 3. Wait 1-2 seconds before responding. Responding immediately to difficult or tactical customers could result in you saying something you'll later regret. Before you respond, take a deep breath, wait at least 2 seconds, and think about the best response and the best approach. 4. Take a time-out. When you sense that your buttons have been pushed, take a break. You can tell the customer you need to put him on hold while you review a file, or whatever excuse sounds good at the time. The point is to get away from the customer for a few seconds so you can re-group. 5. Use positive self-talk. I'm going to sound like Dr. Phil on this one, but I'm quite serious. Instead of saying to yourself, "I don't get paid enough to put up with this ____." Say something more positive like "This guy really needs my help." Thinking more positively helps you respond more positively and professionally. Negative thoughts lead to negative words, and it spirals into a very negative situation. 6. Show your power before you use it. Often, a subtle suggestion of your "power" is far more effective than the outright use of your power. As a customer service professional you may have the power to terminate a phone call. You could say to your customer: "If you don't stop yelling, I will terminate this call." But, believe it or not, you are far more "powerful" if you say, "I want to help you, but when you yell and cut me off, you make it difficult for me to work with you." The latter statement demonstrates your power and your message most definitely gets across. The former statement uses up all of your ammunition and won't usually diffuse an irate customer. These incredibly simple tips will position you to keep your cool when customers get hot!

Summary

Clients work with professionals whom they trust. Building ttrust is an ongoing process. Here are 10 wyas to build trust with both old and new clients.