I’ve had a couple incidents over the past few weeks that really got me thinking about client service, how we approach people, how we sell ourselves and our services.

First impressions count.
What I learned from the Facebook/high school incident is how first impressions, even 25 years later, count. The photo on my profile, the pictures in my album, the posts I write, the connections in my LinkedIn, all of this gives you an impression of who I am without ever having to meet me.

Bill Flannery and I were talking about this yesterday and he pointed me to some great articles. One in particular really stood out by Malcolm Gladwell which goes into detail about how we make snap judgments, well, in a snap.

A person watching a two-second silent video clip of a teacher he has never met will reach conclusions about how good that teacher is that are very similar to those of a student who sits in the teacher’s class for an entire semester.

p. 70, The New Yorker, May 29, 2000

What judgments can be made about you in 2-seconds? Will your client see or read what you want them to? You have control over much of this information. How much time and effort are you putting into you?

Stalking is never attractive.
You will never bully me into buying your product or services. I recently returned to the office after a holiday weekend to find I had over 600 missed calls. Seems I made the error in judgment of donating to a political campaign. So, in addition to the 600 calls, I’m now getting 1 to 2 mail solicitations a day. Ugh. Enough already. No more money for you!

Are you stalking your clients or prospects?

If they’re not returning your calls or acknowledging your e-mails, they might not be that into you. Take a look at your recent actions. Are you providing value in your interactions with them, or are you calling to see what they can GIVE you? What are you doing to make sure your calls get answered, your voicemails returned, and your e-mails are opened? Next time you call, have something of value to give them. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll take away.

Don’t diss me.
Please don’t try to impress me by ripping apart my website, brochure, practice description, SEO results or disclaimer. Oh, and if you do, don’t do it publicly. I really don’t like that. Enough said.

Give me a sample.
If you really want me to hire you, give me a sample of what you have to offer. I might not hire you today. I might not hire you at my current firm. But, some how, some day and in some way, I will repay the favor.

On your website, give me some tools that I can use. Fishman Marketing and Kohn Communications do this so well. Kohn Communications is doing some work for me right now, and someday, I will get a chance to hire Ross Fishman and his team. In the meantime, I am grateful for the resources that they supply. And, while I’m at it, thanks to Jayne Navarre for going over the fine art of SEO with me yesterday. I still don’t want to HAVE to understand it, but I have a whole new vocabulary. Thanks, Jayne.

What resources are you providing on your website or through your blog? Are you only providing recaps of all of your awards and press recognitions you have received? Or are you writing detailed analysis of how current events, business trends, pending litigation or court decisions will affect your clients and their business?

Treat me right and I’ll keep you top of mind.
At the end of the day it’s about how we are treated. I might not be in a position to purchase your product or service today, but I’ll remember you when I can. In the meantime, I want you to be a resourse I can call when I need help. And I promise I’ll do the same for you. That’s how you will be and stay top of mind with me.