- Kathleen Riessen
Clarity and Focus in 5 Simple Steps
We've all been there – stuck in a fog of indecision, not knowing how to proceed or even where to turn for help. Though we'd love to lighten our own mental load, we don't want to overwhelm the people around us, and everyone else is somehow connected to the problem at hand. Sound familiar? I often find my clients in just such a position and I’m betting you do too. The good news? I'm going to share 5 simple steps you can use to help you move your client from confusion to clarity. Bonus – you can use these yourself too!
Listening and asking questions
Step one is all about asking questions and listening to dig into what the real challenges are. It’s vital that you serve an advisor who has no stake in the game other than your client’s success which means listening carefully without being distracted by your own agenda.
When I start working with a new client I spend a lot of time listening and asking questions to get a clear idea of who they are. I want to learn about everything, not just about their business, but also about their relationships, their motivations, what drives them and what they’re afraid of. By really digging in, I get to understand the full picture. When we’re able to identify what’s going on underneath the issues presenting themselves, we have a much better chance of finding success with the problems on the surface.
Defining your client’s unique purpose and vision
After gathering information and sifting through it, we come to step two, which is all about defining your client’s purpose and vision. The number one problem I see clients go to agencies with is to grow. The challenge is that, in most cases, the client isn’t sure what kind of growth they want. This is bigger than just revenue.
Step two is about determining the focus of the growth – why do they want to grow, what kind of growth do they want, are they able to support the growth? The answers to these questions have to be crystal clear before you can effectively support them.
Frame the problem
Helping my clients through step three involves comparing what we’ve learned about their purpose and vision with where they actually are at present. In mapping the gap between where they want to be and where they are, we’re essentially framing the problem: this is where we want to be and this is where we are. Only when we can see clearly how far off-track we are can we plan what we need to do next.
Create a path forward
Step four involves planning out the checkpoints that will lead us to where we want to be. This will be different for every business, but with the accountability you bring to the process, your client is more likely to make it through the rough spots. When your client arrives at a point in the journey where they don’t know what to do, they can turn to you for help. The reality is, most businesses facing tough hurdles do not persevere, just as the majority of runners quit right before the last mile of a marathon; what gets us through the final stretch is the support of the people around us. Your job is to be that of an invaluable cheerleader, guiding your client along the way to success.
Step five is about celebrating your client’s (and your) successes. This is one many of us forget, but I always remind my clients how very important it is to celebrate our wins. When we blow past the celebration and immediately start chasing the next success, we end up feeling like we don't have any wins. And because we’re usually playing a long game in business, we can end up feeling defeated. It’s so important to stop and acknowledge our wins before we turn towards the next goal.
When the going gets tough
Everyone deserves to have someone they can call when they don’t know what to do. When I start working with a new client especially in the executive ranks, I always tell them, “If I'm doing my job, you will want to quit at the half-way point.” That’s the reality because when you’re working at the executive level it’s not a question of ‘if’, but ‘when’ things will get tough; that’s why having an unbiased advisor by your side is so critical. This is the same role you play with your clients. You and I provide a vital space to share frustrations, talk things through, and receive the support they need to move forward with joy and ease.
If you are leading an account service team and are looking for support just like this to grow and lead your team, join our Account Leaders Mastermind. This is a great way to work with peers in a safe and trusted environment to learn, share and grow.