What Little Thing Makes a Big Difference in Client Relationships?

You could be missing an important detail in client relationships, and it's probably on your desk right now.

You’re architects. You know all about designing the details within the big picture, right? When building client relationships (which you should be), there's a not-so-little thing that can make a big difference.

It's something you already have. Look around. It's probably near your desk, in your kitchen. Maybe it's that garlic clove hidden in your drawer just waiting to be diced. Maybe it's a stapler. (Maybe the stapler for some reason is in your kitchen?)

Okay, it's neither of those things. Before I give you the answer, let me tell you a story …

Last time I went to the Apple store, I bought over $6000 worth of products, a couple new laptops, a new iPhone, etc. That same day, my old laptop needed to be looked at, so I sit down with one of those smartie-pants Apple tech associates.

He wasn't very friendly. As a technical expert, he's more into his technical stuff. More black and white and less touchy feely. I get that.

When he cleaned my screen down with a cloth, I thought, “Oh, that's nice.” (See, something small.) Because there was a second one in the pack, I asked, “Mind if I have that one?”

“I'm sorry, I can't do that,” he stated blankly.

I was surprised to say the least. It must only cost 10 cents. I don't blame him though. He may be following store policy. He wouldn't have known I bought $6000 worth of stuff earlier in the day.

But for the sake of a ten-cent piece of alcohol infused cloth … it shouldn't really matter. Funny isn't it? Little things can make a big difference.

That was the Apple tech and me.

Look at waiters and waitresses at cafes, bars, and restaurants. A lot of times, they do very little things that make you feel good. That's about it, they make you feel good … and get big tips. Why? They've changed the way you feel.

Now let's think about your clients. It can be hard to pick out what little thing could make all the difference in your client relationships.

First: How do you make people feel?

Take time to reflect on this and you'll be on the road to learning how to avoid losing your best prospects.

Say you're delivering plans to a new client. This brief meeting is about the product, but it's also about your relationship. You could add a personal touch that reflects who you are as an architect and to this specific client — excellent opportunity to differentiate yourself and provide something no one else can provide AND you don't have to be an extrovert to make a meaningful connection.

So what's the little thing that was at your desk all along? Well, it's actually quite important. It's YOU.

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