One of the most effective tools in your marketing tool box is your own willingness to put your clients first. When you imagine yourself on the "other side of the table," you can begin to behave toward a client in the same way that you like your service providers to behave toward you when you are the client. You don't like doctor visits where you are kept waiting, you don't like calling an advisor who puts you on hold, and most of all, it is hard to feel welcome when the rules favor the service provider's schedule or situation!
Here is a case in point: I recently went to a restaurant after they had closed. (It was 9:15 and I didn't realize they closed at 9:00.) Nonetheless they seated our party, making suggestions on menu items that were still available despite the fact that he kitchen had officially closed, and they went out of their way to make us welcome even though it was obvious that the day was over for them. The impression I got was that the rules were being made for the convenience of the customer, not for the restaurant staff.
When you put the needs of others ahead of your own (whenever possible), you build meaningful relationships that can stand the test of time. But if the decisions you make are based on what is best for you and your firm, clients may find it fairly easy to make a change when the opportunity arises.
Think about the subtle messages you may be sending to your clients. Do they know how valuable they are to you by the actions of your firm and your sincere effort to help them - or do they just get lip service from you? Your client focus must be more than words on your website, they must be words you live by every day!
\Share your experiences - I would love to hear form you!