Many people today take some time out with their spouse over a bottle of red or even a weekend away to constructively discuss how their relationship is going and how to keep improving it.

I know of one couple who exercise this ritual – on their wedding anniversary!

There is also an opportunity to do this with our executive clients – but critically it should be without the attendant agenda of ‘can we sell you more stuff’.

Rather, an honest assessment of how you’re both faring in this business relationship could be very beneficial.

Here’s a sample format of a discussion/presentation (You decide if you need the bottle of wine and I think the weekend away breaches at least three pieces of Federal legislation!)

1. Customer Update. Share your knowledge of what’s going on in the client’s company and industry, including public information, analyst findings, and things you’ve heard about from employees and managers.

2. Your Company Update. Keep it brief, but bring the client up-to-date on any relevant developments at your organization – new, strategic changes that might affect the client, a new approach to customer service, relevant R&D work, etc.

3. Activity Review. This is a quick review of activities and projects on which you and the client have worked since your last update. Address successes, challenges, and the value your client has seen as a result of your work. Include both anecdotal and quantified evidence of this value.

4. Challenges. Honestly discuss issues you might generally avoid. e.g. ‘We noticed you’ve been asking for more discounts in the last quarter as well as fast turnaround – What’s causing this?’

5. Disneyland Opportunities. In our personal relationship, we may have that discussion around how we could plan and get excited about taking the kids to Disneyland.  Lay out Disneyland opportunities you’ve found to help the client be successful. These opportunities can emerge from the more public information you’ve outlined in your “client update,” or from gaps you’ve observed and heard about from employees within the client.

6. Group Hug – Sing Kumbaya Together!

 The keys to this relationship review are removing a ‘salesy’ agenda and being honest as equals should be in a relationship. It also keeps them from committing adultery with that conniving vendor down the road.

Written by Elliot Epstein, CEO, Salient Communication

Elliot has trained and coached over 3000 people throughout the Asia Pacific Region and is a sought after keynote speaker on Sales, Negotiation, Leadership and Presentations.


© Salient Communication