We’ve all heard the phrase Happy Wife, Happy Life. Well in the world of Government Purchasing you should get to know the phrase Happy Agency, Happy Business. You may know your industry inside and out, but if you don’t know how to keep the agencies you are working with happy, you are risking losing your contract and hurting your business. After talking with a few suppliers and agencies in the Periscope Supplier Network we have put together a small list of things you can do to keep your agency happy and keep the business relation a successful one.
If they don’t share, ask. Ask about their purpose. What are they trying to accomplish? What are the goals of the agency? Who do they serve? How does your project or contract fit into their overall plan? You may be mowing lawns, but you fit into an overall mission in some very important way.
According to Entrepreneur Magazine, the first thing you need to do is pay attention. Get to know your client’s communication style, get to know their organization so you can begin to anticipate their needs. Understanding their priorities and style is an important step to creating a solid working relationship.
You’re busy, they’re busy, everyone is busy. But is important for you to be sensitive of your agencies time and concentrate communication so that you aren’t filling their inboxes with dozens of different requests or deliverables. Make a list and then send an itemized e-mail.
Do you know an individual or organization that might be a good resource for your client? Make the introduction. Did you find a hidden gem of information that will help your contact in his or her job? Share it. This helps your client see you as a valuable resource beyond the services or items you supply. You can be trusted to help make their job easier.
They may not ask for it, but you need to deliver consistent communication on the progress of the project or contract. Establish a protocol where you deliver weekly progress reports. When a milestone is reached, share the good news with your contact.
Don’t try and push missteps under the carpet. Create a strategic plan to correct the problem and then discuss it with your agency contact. You may be able to strengthen your relationship if you own the problem and resolve it professionally.
Meet your deadlines and hit milestones on time. This is the most important aspect of good client management. If you meet your deadlines, the client will feel like they can trust you and that they have made the right choice in your company.
It’s hard to say “no” or push back with a client, but it can be an important step. If you can’t deliver with the quality and timeliness that the client is asking for, tell them. Work with them to set better, more manageable expectations.
If you promised them eight of something, but you find you can deliver ten—do it! Exceeding expectations (reasonably, of course) is a sure way to build a strong working relationship with your client.
Doing a few basic steps will smooth your relationship with your clients and make it so the project or contract is executed in a way that makes everyone proud. Keeping lines of communication open and delivering above expectations whenever possible will cement your place with your clients.
A question that comes up often when visiting trade shows and hosting webinars is “how do I break into the business of government contracts?” This is a great question and when we considered the answer we decided to take it to Jean Clark.Read More