What was it again that the client wanted?
It seems the most obvious question of every project. But is it? If you’re building a bridge or a tunnel, a website or an event, a translation or a swing in a playground, there are logical steps you need to follow to reach the right result. Everybody knows this. Or not? Again and again, these steps are not respected.
1. Make sure you talk to the right client
Will the person you talk to have the power to decide on the project?
Who decides on strategy? Objectives? Budgets? Timing? Just don’t start running unless you know where you are running.
2. Set the scene, define the agenda
Even a simple meeting deserves a clear agenda. Confirm the steps you want to follow in the meeting, to create the best information exchange.
Make sure you have enough time to cover the topics. Leave time for a conclusion and ‘next steps’.
3. Really Listen
Communication starts with listening. Really listening. Leave space for silences; ask questions that clarify what the client wants. Use examples if they help. But don’t get swamped in the sea of boasting on previous success stories. Think in future results.
4. Confirm and be frank about it
Always confirm what you think you heard. And translate it in clear conclusions. The goal is to know who has to do what by when, who will be involved and how much it can cost.
5. Confirm again, in writing
Even in telegram style, make sure you confirm what was agreed. Do not count on it that the client actually reads your confirmation. Make sure all is understood. And accepted.
6. Share with your team
If others are involved in the process, it is deadly to start off without all heads turned in the same direction. Make sure the technical and ’emotional side’ of the project are clear to all. Often, in theory all know what it is about, but cultural and language differences make that in the real world not everyone is “in synch”.
7. Fine-tune, adapt, reconfirm
Even when all goes well, make sure to give frequent updates on the status of your activity.
Although this is basic class 101 material, these 7 steps are neglected too often. Costing a loss of energy and money beyond imagination.
Not with us, dear reader! Not in our backyard! On time and above expectation start here, today and in the seven steps!