Thursday, April 20, 2006

8 Tricks to Keep Clients Happy

It has come to my attention that Rubyred clients (and potential clients) sometimes read this blog. In the spirit of openness, I'll tell you some of the tricks I use to keep you happy. Other readers are free to use these tricks with their own clients.
  1. Over Deliver.
    This is the number 1 key to success in all areas of life. Whatever people are expecting, give them a little more. (The reason it's trick: you could just promise something and deliver exactly as expected, but it really doesn't work as well.)

  2. Listen.
    Listen to what the client is saying. As soon as you think you understand, listen some more. Then ask clarifying questions and listen to the answers, then listen some more. Ok, now you can talk.

  3. Take notes.
    When the client is talking, somebody should be writing down what they are saying. Everyong thinks they can remember what was said -- if you actually can, that's great. You are allowed to take notes and never refer back to them. But you still need to take notes.

  4. Refer back to the notes.
    This is part of over-delivering. When following up from a meeting, you should have addressed every issue that is in the notes, even if the client forgot about it. They'll remember eventually anyway.

  5. Bring Cookies.
    Always have some cookies at the meeting. Purchasing decisions often depend on things like cookies.

  6. Get background information.
    This one is so easy it's a wonder that everyone doesn't do before every meeting. Before you talk to a client (or potential client, or anyone) do a web search on their name, their company, and their industry. You need to know what's happening in their world.

    When interviewing people at Yahoo I was always amazed that people would show up having not read a big news story about the company that was published the day before.

  7. Be Funny (and maybe a little dirty).
    People prefer to hang out with those who amuse them. So be amusing. And I don't mean being "wacky" by wearing a funny tie or something. Tell an off-color joke or two. For a while Thor was using Furries (yes, people who like to have sex while dressed in animal costumes) as an example of an under-served demographic for social networking software.

    Being dirty has the added bonus of eliminating clients that you wouldn't really want to work with anyway.

  8. Open Up.
    Get drunk with them. Take them to Supperclub, Relax with cucumbers on your eyes. Let them watch as you are manhandled by an overzealous (and slightly grabby) masseuse. Tell them about how your mother never really loved you. You have nothing to hide, and your clients will trust you more when they know all your dark secrets.


Blogger Erinia Jourdanski Semiotician to the Stars said...

Wow, you are like a guru. Do you have any of the photos of from when you came to my party and your stuffed animals and my stuffed animals (cabbits) were battling and making akward attempts at lovemaking? Do tell...

1:02 PM, April 20, 2006  
Blogger Thor said...

They're "plushies" not "furries", you silly boy!

11:34 PM, May 01, 2006  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Sorry Thor, Wikipedia is never wrong. Furries like to dress up like human size animals for their jollies, while Plushies, or Plushophiles, have an obsession with regular toy-size animals. Both at forms of Furverts.

12:15 AM, May 02, 2006  
Anonymous shawn said...

RE: #1... It's so much easier when you under-promise.

4:52 PM, May 23, 2006  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Good catch Shawn. Under promising is a big first step towards over delivering.

Another word for this sentiment (often used by executives and annoying salespeople) is "sandbagging." For some reason I've been liking this word lately, probably because I'm now an annoying executive. The term comes from the conceptual practice of, say, running a footrace with a bag of sand. When it's time for the big final race you run without the sand and perform much better than expected.

In the web world you sandbag by predicting your monthly pageviews will be 10,000, even though it's the 15th and you already have 8,000. At the end of the month you'll have 16,000 and everyone will think things are going even better than expected. Tell your boss the lowest number you can get away with, then deliver the biggest number possible.

6:22 PM, May 24, 2006  

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