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Post Project Steps 7: Review Questions

What sort of questions should you be asking yourself once a project is done in order to carry through improvements?

Sales
What worked? What approach/material did you use to win the prospect, how long did it take to go from an initial enquiry to actual work and where did that customer find you or vice versa.

Conversion
Talking of converting that sale into actual work…what questions did they ask you before you bought? What information did they need? Is there a gap in your marketing material that could be filled?

Brief
Reflecting on the brief, did you actually address the core concern? Is the end product widely different from what you originally planned? what was it that changed the customers mind?

Quote vs Reality

How much time did you originally give this project and trying where possible to add up things like phone calls and emails, how long did it actually take? If this took much longer than expected, why was that? What unexpected costs might have arisen?

Communication
I think it’s useful to add up how many emails and phone calls a project actually took. How would you rate your level of interaction with the client? Were they chasing you or were you being proactive. If something went wrong how did you address that? Internally how was the project communicated between everyone? Was there a clear understanding of what needed to be done?

Deliverables
Did you deliver when you say you would? What held up any project deliverables? Do they meet the initial brief? Objectively how would you rate the quality against the time given?

Improvements
What have you learnt from this project? What could you have done differently? How could you have saved time/money/mis-communication? How could different members of your team work better together? What feedback have you had the client themselves?

All of these elements should be fed back into the process to improve your product/service over time.

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Good Client Relations 16: Smaller Clients

Coming to the end of our topic about good client relations I wanted to do a quick summary of some of the positive and negative attributes of both bigger and smaller clients.

Bigger Impact

One of the main positives about working with those smaller clients and my personal favourite thing, is that you can have a much bigger impact on their business. There’s nothing better then being able to add value to a business, it quickly builds relationships and leads to repeat work.

Quicker Decisions

Another plus about smaller businesses is that there are less people and usually that means you get clearer line of communication. Quite often you’ll be dealing with the MD or owner. This enables fast communication…which also means you should get paid quicker, too.

Bigger Decisions

Talking of money, one of the downsides of smaller clients is that money is more precious for them. As such although decision ‘in-project’ might be quicker, actually getting them to commit can be harder. Smaller clients will want value for their money and counter-intuitively will often have higher expectations that your higher paying clients.

More Loyalty

Smaller clients will value that care and attention that they wouldn’t get from say a big agency. That also makes them less likely to shop around as opposed to a big company where you may be one of a number of suppliers.

Fragile

The main downside with any smaller client is that by their very nature they are more fragile and therefore more affected by outside sources. So if a client pays them late, you might get paid late too.

Outgrow

On your journey in business, if you’re doing all the right things you will often start to outgrow smaller clients. It simply won’t be sensible to give them your time when you could be earning more elsewhere, but don’t overlook them completely. I think having a good mix of clients will ensure long term growth. You do have to remember though, you aren’t in business to do favours.

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The event takes place on the 28th and 29th of September from 9:30am at Manchester's Event City.

You can come and visit Silchrome at Stand E50... for full details of the event please follow the link below:

http://www.industrynorth.co.uk/

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Good Client Relations 9: Committees

We are currently covering how to have good relationships with those clients with bad habits. Today I want to talk about groups. We all know that old phrase about how a camel is a horse designed by committee.

Too Many Cooks

One of the most common problems with working with any large organization is that with more people come more opinions and inevitably more problems. Generally when you’re dealing with more people the process will be slower, you’re more likely to have extra changes and despite what the group might come up with, if they haven’t had sign off from their manager, then your efforts might be fruitless.

One is the Loneliest Number

The quickest way to deal with this is upfront before the work starts. It’s important to have one single point of contact in that organization responsible for overseeing your project. This doesn’t mean however that behind the scenes, the client isn’t involving everyone including the janitor in their decision making process.

Remedy

Be strict with these types of clients in terms of time scales and instructions during the feedback process. It’s very important with any large organization to get clear instructions in writing and where possible try and ensure that you get manager sign off. There have been a few occasions where I’ve finished a project only to be told “actually my boss has seen this, and he wants to go in a different direction.”

The Ghost ‘Friends’

Sometimes, and I think generally in a bid to save face a client will come back with a story about how he was talking to ‘a friend’ has had some suggestions or changes. I’m not actually sure if these invisible “friends” actually exists, but they always mean trouble. Where a client knows that they are half way through the process and really shouldn’t change their mind I find they get these sort of suggestions. Often where there’s criticism it tends to come via an invisible friend.

In these types of situation, its important to weigh up whether this is going to be an issue down the line. Always try and stick to your gut and not create extra work, and reassure your client that you were on the right path all along.
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