The recruitment market has changed massively over the last few years. Assignments are harder to come by, exclusivity harder still. And don’t get me started on candidate shortages.
Things have changed, and the market is more competitive. And this is great! Great? Yes, it’s great because it’s an opportunity. A market like this sorts the wheat from the chaff. It allows the best to shine, and the average to disappear.
What a great opportunity to make a difference
To be the best you really need to be different too. Not just in a “I must differentiate today” kind of way, but in an honest, real way. A way that clients understand and identify with. In a way that shows who you are, and what you are.
Seth Godin talks about a Purple Cow – something that really stands out. And Seth is spot on, but before you go heading for a costume and some paint, here’s an idea that will make all the difference right now, and takes no more than a little extra effort on your behalf.
Commit acts of deliberate relationship enhancement
I really wish I had given it a name, the act of calling a client with the express intention of enhancing your business relationship. The simple act of picking up a phone and giving someone a call, for no other purpose than to improve your relationship.
I’ve been doing it all my working life, but didn’t name it. Hank Paulson, the ex-boss of Goldman Sachs, had the good sense to give it a name.
He called it Acts of Deliberate Relationship Enhancement (ADRE), and it is so important, that Tom Peters made it number 36 in his ‘Little Big Things’.
Calling clients to wish them a happy new year, a good Easter, a merry Christmas. Speaking with people. Making it personal.
Email is useful, but it cannot be used to communicate in a way which allows relationships to be built. ADRE cannot be done with email.
It takes more effort than that. Email is not enough of an effort.
It takes a phone call. A simple thing, but one in this lazy age of email and social media, one that is really important and one which differentiates.
Call your clients. Thank them for their support. Talk to them about their businesses. Make a real effort.
A personal, real effort
In many articles, people make mention of ADRE as a to-do item. Something that needs to be put into a reminders list for January, and do exactly as Hank did. Hank called 60 people to wish them a happy new year.
Okay, it’s a nice thing to do, but the concept goes so much further than a simple new years message.
Take the time to listen to your clients about their lives. Note where they are going on holiday, what their kids are up to, how their career moves are going, what’s going on in their businesses. Note the things that are important to them.
Then call them and ask about these things.
Simple isn’t it. Simple, when you think about it and then do it. And the difference it makes is unbelievable.
A personal difference.
James Nathan can be contacted at email@example.com. Or visit www.jamesnathan.com