When I talk to associations about having us sell their memberships, sponsorships, ads, or exhibits, it is almost always met with some form of...
What makes a great contractor or vendor? I’ve come to believe that mutual expectations with the client are probably glossed over a bit – discussed somewhat during negotiations; and inserted as some verbage within the contract. However, those expectations are critical to the ultimate success of each project and the success of your business.
We had an incredibly successful launch meeting with a client not too long ago that led with an exchange we’ve incorporated into each one since.
I probably hadn’t paid as much attention to this aspect of business relations as I should – but, it’s imperative to set clear expectations from the client to the contractor and vice versa. In the introductory phase of our meetings, I lead our discussion with a concise explanation as to our company values: collaboration, integrity, and dedication.
And, we expect the same from our clients. So, as a client, if you feel you aren’t getting 110% from my team all the time – I want to know about it. If we aren’t acting with integrity, collaboration and dedication in every instance – I want to know about it. And, if something is amiss on your end; I’m going to call you. I’ve found that great partnerships are formed by meeting expectations from a values perspective. We rarely talk about this as organizations – but, it’s the first thing we address.
This is important. The discussion should happen during the launch meeting with all the people in the room. Often the CEOs and the principals are on the same page – but, it’s the execution and the values being practiced by everyone on the project that need to be upheld.
The practice also starts to set the threshold for my involvement as the CEO. One of the biggest challenges in running a small company is how much time I spend on certain aspects of the business. My goal is to empower my staff to do as much as they can so they can grow; but, there’s also a part of me that naturally gravitates to all aspects of the process – a place I shouldn’t be all the time.
Nonetheless, I’m really proud of this shift in thought. Expectations and mutual accountability need to be addressed at the outset. As a vendor, it’s imperative to nurture and manage your client relations in the best way possible. Getting everyone aligned is a great step forward.