handshake“Partnering” has become one of those overused buzzwords that has lost its meaning. Every company talks about partnering with their clients. While it is imperative that you become a partner to your client, without understanding what that means, the term is useless.

  • Partnering is not selling: Selling products or services to your client is not partnering. That’s what every business does. Partnering with a customer does not mean offering discounts. Partnering is not about sales. It is about the service you give during and after the sales.
  • Partnering requires understanding: I get a great many solicitations from companies that claim they want to partner with me. Further reading shows they have no idea what I do and simply grabbed my contact information from a mailing list. To be a partner with your client, you must understand what they do and have an understanding of their industry. What are the industry trends? What are your clients strengths and weaknesses? What is their competition doing? If you can answer these questions, you are partnering with your client.
  • Does your client call you with questions?: The real key to partnering with clients is if they consider you a partner. Do they call you with questions? Are you a source for information? Does your client rely on you for more than just what you sold them? Those are the signs that your client considers you a true partner.