The secret to delighting your prospects and clients: 3 rules

You already know that a marketing strategy, or any business strategy, is only as good as its execution. Perhaps your clients or your company were wowed when you presented your plan, everyone bought in and now they are ready to hit the ground running.

But a strategy is only as good as the plan to implement. If you want to keep the energy and excitement flowing past the development of your strategy, here are 3 rules you must follow in the planning stage:

Rule #1: Make sure your timing is realistic. There is some debate as to whether or not “Under promise and over delivery” is wise business practice. At NK&A we concur with Warren Buffet’s philosophy: “Be straight-forward regarding expectations.” Make sure that your timing is realistic, and that your client understands how and why phases of your plan will take as long as they will. If you over-estimate on time, although it’s a pleasant surprise, clients begin to mistrust your estimations, and it may affect long-term relationships. And under-estimating how much time a project will take is always a disaster. Your clients should feel that you know enough about your business to know how long a project will take, and that you have the expertise and resources to get ‘it done in the time allotted. Bottom line: your clients should know that they can trust you in every way.

Rule #2: Deliver as much value as possible. There is nothing wrong with working a few “extras” into your plan – as long as they do not put you over budget or over extend your team. However, extras will only increase your client’s satisfaction if you follow Rule #3.

Rule #3: Provide regular value reports. Depending on the project, your client may or may not be aware of how hard you are working for them. Even if the project is on time, within budget, and humming along beautifully, if your client is not terribly involved in the  process they can mistakenly assume that nothing is happening; ergo, they are not getting what they paid for. It’s vital that you demonstrate to your client the value you are providing. Set up a reporting system before work begins that will work for them and will not be too cumbersome for you. If they can see where you are in the project and the progress you have made, and they have a way to compare that side-by-side against the original plan, the result will be increased confidence in you, continuous buy-in and enthusiasm for the project, and thus, delight.